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James Norton details his struggle with Type 1 Diabetes

Published: 12:04 GMT, 29 November 2021 | Updated: 12:14 GMT, 29 November 2021
James Norton took to Instagram on Sunday to reflect on living with type 1 diabetes to shed light on Diabetes Awareness Month.
Alongside a shirtless picture of himself on the beach in Kent in which he showed off his Dexcom device, which monitors glucose in the blood, the Grantchester actor, 36, wrote that the condition was like having a ‘really annoying friend.’
He penned in the caption: ‘November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so this is a proud shoutout from a chilly beach in Kent, to all my fellow type 1 warriors out there. Being a type 1 diabetic is like having a really annoying friend.’
Speaking out: James Norton, 36, took to Instagram on Sunday to detail his struggle as a type 1 Diabetic during Diabetes Awareness Month
Struggle: Alongside a shirtless picture of himself on the beach in Kent in which he showed off his Dexcom device, which monitors glucose in the blood, the Grantchester actor, 36, wrote that the condition was like having a ‘really annoying friend’
He went on: ‘It requires constant care and attention as well as patience and fortitude, but occasionally can be a strange sort of support, and even a power…
‘It helps you to be more empathetic. It encourages you to look after yourself and your health, as well as other people around you.’
The second photo in the post showed the esteemed actor wearing a red beanie and posing with a diabetes charity wristband.
Type 1 diabetes causes the level of glucose in your blood to become too high, which happens when your body cannot produce enough insulin.
Using his platform: He went on: ‘It requires constant care and attention as well as patience and fortitude, but occasionally can be a strange sort of support, and even a power’
This is controlled by daily injections of insulin which keeps the blood glucose levels low and under control.
James went onto detail his new device called a Dexcom G6, which monitors the glucose levels in his blood and, via bluetooth, connects them to his phone.
He wrote: ‘One of the reasons to be grateful right now as a diabetic is the progress being made in diabetes care, as well as the steps being taken towards a potential cure…
‘I am so lucky to have access to Dexcom G6, the device you can see attached to my arm. It bluetooths my glucose levels to my phone every few minutes, and so helps me to keep control of my sugar levels throughout the day and night…
Condition: Type 1 diabetes causes the level of glucose in your blood to become too high, which happens when your body cannot produce enough insulin
‘It’s known as CGM , and Dexcom have been a pioneer in this type of technology. Moving from the old fashioned finger prick blood test to CGM has been a complete game changer for me.’
He detailed how the device has improved his life: ‘Life is unpredictable as an actor making it hard to keep any routine, and so my levels used to be pretty erratic…
‘Since using Dexcom, not only have my average glucose levels vastly improved, but I also spend far less time thinking and worrying about my diabetes.’
Type 1 diabetes causes the level of glucose in your blood to become too high.
It happens when your body cannot produce enough of a hormone called insulin, which controls blood glucose.
You need daily injections of insulin to keep your blood glucose levels under control.
Managing type 1 diabetes can take time to get used to, but you can still do all the things you enjoy. This guide is here to help.
Type 1 diabetes is not linked with age or being overweight – these things are linked with type 2 diabetes.
‘Most importantly, it helps my long term health. The better a diabetic can control their levels, the less likely they will face health complications in later life
The devices vary in prices, and it is £1000 for a monitor which does not need a pump, £500 with an insulin pump and £40-60 for sensors.
James continued: ‘With all this in mind, it’s imperative that we make this type of technology available to all type 1s…
‘The reality is, many people with diabetes in the UK self-fund CGM and it’s not widely available on the NHS. This needs to change. Please help us spread the word!’
Currently on the NHS patients are entitled to getting CGM if they have type one diabetes and are pregnant, but in some areas it may be available to others.
Back: The post comes after it was revealed that James will be returning to Happy Valley for the long awaited third season of Happy Valley; pictured, series two
Patients can also borrow CGMs if availability allows.
The post comes after it was revealed that James will be returning to Happy Valley for the long awaited third season of Happy Valley.
James plays murderer Tommy Lee Royce on the programme, alongside Sarah Lancashire who plays  Sergeant Catherine Cawood.
The final season will follow Catherine as she investigates a gangland murder that leads her back to Tommy, and her struggle to end the drug supply in the valley.
James said of reprising his role as Tommy: ‘To take on Tommy one final time is a wonderful and daunting privilege, and something I’ve been looking forward to since we wrapped the last series, six years ago.
‘I’m so excited to be working with the insanely talented Sally and Sarah again. Thinking we should all go on one last barge holiday, for old times’ sake.’
It’s back! James plays murderer Tommy Lee Royce on the programme, alongside Sarah Lancashire who plays Sergeant Catherine Cawood
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Welcome To Rockville 2022

KORN changed the world with the release of their self-titled debut album.  It was a record that would pioneer a genre, while the band’s enduring success points to a larger cultural moment.  The FADER notes, “There was an unexpected opening in the pop landscape and KORN articulated a generational coming-of-angst for a claustrophobic, self-surveilled consciousness. KORN became the soundtrack for a generation’s arrival as a snarling, thrashing, systemically-restrained freak show.”
Since forming, KORN has sold 40 million albums worldwide, collected two GRAMMYS, toured the world countless times, and set many records in the process that will likely never be surpassed. Vocalist Jonathan Davis, guitarists James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch, bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, and drummer Ray Luzier, have continued to push the limits of the rock, alternative and metal genres, while remaining a pillar of influence for legions of fans and generations of artists around the globe.  The level of KORN’s reach transcends accolades and platinum certifications. They are “a genuine movement in a way bands cannot be now,” attests The Ringer. They represent a new archetype and radical innovation, their ability to transcend genre makes barriers seem irrelevant.
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH have amassed over 7.6 billion streams and 3 billion video views to date and have sold over 1 million tickets between 2018 and 2020 alone. They are the 2nd biggest artist in the hard rock space measured by total consumption , surpassed only by Metallica. Recently signed to Better Noise Music, they’ve garnered 25 top 10 hit singles and 12 #1 singles.
Having become one of the most recognizable names in music, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH frequently play all major festivals and sell out arenas around the world.
Since their debut album, The Way of the Fist came out in 2007 the band has released six consecutive albums that were certified Gold or Platinum by the RIAA, as well as two chart topping Greatest Hits albums.
In addition, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH has earned numerous national and international awards and honors over the last decade, such as the prestigious Soldier Appreciation Award by the Association Of The United States Army, an honor bestowed upon only one other recording artist before them: Elvis Presley.
Their most current release, F8 was produced by Kevin Churko and debuted at #1 on Rock charts around the world with Top 10 Mainstream chart debuts in the USA, Austria, Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and more. F8 features #1 hit singles “Inside Out”, “A Little Bit Off”, “Living The Dream” and “Darkness Settles In”.
Multi-platinum, record-breaking band Shinedown - Brent Smith , Zach Myers , Eric Bass , and Barry Kerch  – has sold more than 10 million albums and 10 million singles worldwide, earned 14 platinum and gold singles, 5 platinum and gold albums, 16 #1 Active Rock hits, and amassed more than 4.5 billion total streams. Each of Shinedown’s 27 charting singles on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs Chart has reached the Top 5 – an unparalleled achievement – and they hold the record for most Top 5s ever on this chart. Their hit songs ”Atlas Falls,” “ATTENTION ATTENTION,” “GET UP,” “MONSTERS” and “DEVIL” bring their total to 17 #1s on the Mediabase Active Rock Chart and 16 #1s on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs Chart, breaking the record for the most #1s ever in the history of the Billboard chart. Shinedown was also recently named #1 on Billboard’s Greatest of All Time Mainstream Rock Artists Chart.
Shinedown’s film ATTENTION ATTENTION, directed by Bill Yukich , is a cinematic experience of their 2018 studio album of the same name and is out now via Gravitas Ventures. The film features theatrical performances from the band, Melora Walters , and Francesca Eastwood , and is available on digital and cable VOD in the U.S. and Canada on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Comcast, Dish Network, Verizon Fios, and Mediacom, among others - PRESS HERE to purchase, PRESS HERE to watch the trailer. ATTENTION ATTENTION is a visual journey that brings to life the story of the band’s acclaimed chart-topping sixth full-length and latest album which ushered in their biggest and boldest chapter to date. Shinedown’s distinct mix of explosive rock ‘n’ roll spirit, thought-provoking lyrics, and melodic sensibility on ATTENTION ATTENTION  has accumulated more than 622 million global streams, debuted Top 5 on the Billboard 200, simultaneously hit #1 on Billboard’s Alternative, Top Rock and Hard Rock Albums Charts, led to five iHeart Radio Music Award nominations for Rock Artist of the Year  and Rock Song of the Year , and major media acclaim. From life’s lowest lows to the highest highs, what emerges from the film is a powerful and enduring statement about humanity, overcoming struggle, the importance of mental health, not being afraid to fail, and the resolve of the human spirit.
Hailed for their high-octane live shows, Shinedown continues to engender diehard love from millions of global fans and has racked up countless sold-out tours and festival headlining sets as well as numerous national television appearances. The band is playing to sold-out arenas in the U.S., backed by their biggest, most eye-popping production yet and propelled by the undeniable power of front man Brent Smith’s voice.
Great bands break rules, but legends write their own. JANE’S ADDICTION have actually written the rule book for alternative music and culture through a combination of genre-defying classic songs and a cinematic live experience. Perry Farrell stands out as one of music’s most visionary and enigmatic front men. His vocals soar with vibrancy, vulnerability and vitality. Guitar god, Dave Navarro conjures simultaneously psychedelic and epic riffs. Stephen Perkins’ tribal stomp remains hypnotic and transfixing. The band created a sound that the world had never heard before. It is as riff heavy as it is sensitive. Farrell lyrically chronicles the stranger side of life, telling personal tales that stick with fans just as much as Navarro’s licks do.
ABOUT BREAKING BENJAMIN: Multi-platinum band Breaking Benjamin has amassed a sizeable and diehard fan base, both through their chart-topping music, as well as their electrifying live performances. Their latest release, Dark Before Dawn certified GOLD debuted #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and spun off two #1 rock tracks, “Failure” and “Angels Fall.” “Failure” was also named the most played song at Active Rock for 2015. 2009’s Dear Agony, certified PLATINUM debuted #4 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the iTunes Rock Album Chart. Dear Agony also spun off the platinum selling and #1 Active Rock single “I Will Not Bow” where it stayed #1 for five weeks straight. Their discography also includes 2002’s Saturate, 2004’s We Are Not Alone 2006’s Phobia We Are Not Alone spawned a pair of #1 radio hits Phobia debuted at # 2 on Billboard’s Top 200, hit #1 on the Rock Album Chart and was one of the top 50 selling rock albums of 2006. It featured one #1 and two Top 5 rock radio hits
On their new album, Nowhere Generation, due out June 4 , the multi-Gold and Platinum band RISE AGAINST draws a line in the sand with its blazing and aggressive punk rock and lyrics that shine a spotlight on the social and economical deck that has been stacked against our younger generations’ pursuit of The American Dream.
“There’s this idea that we all are raised on, believing that your generation will be a continuance of your parents’ generation — if not even a more fruitful era,” said singer/guitarist/lyricist Tim McIlrath. “And it seems like the American Dream isn’t turning out the way it’s supposed to for a lot of people. Young people aren’t quite climbing that ladder the way they were in the past. I feel for this generation and think it’s something that should be recognized.” Lyrically, much of the band’s upcoming ninth studio album was inspired by listening to his young daughters and a community of fans, seeing firsthand the generation gap growing quicker than ever before while mired in chronic social, economic, and political instability. “Our hope on this record,” continues McIlrath, “is to jostle people awake, even if it makes you uncomfortable.”
The band — McIlrath, Joe Principe , Brandon Barnes , and Zach Blair — sounds those alarms on Nowhere Generation’s unabashedly outspoken songs that speak to a sea of disenchanted youth about both the struggles and the solutions, while sonically continuing to blur the lines between astute punk rock and melodic-driven pop. In addition to the communal call to arms embedded in the aggressive title track, there’s the fast and furious anti-establishment manifesto “Broken Dreams, Inc.,” the moody ballad “Forfeit,” and the surprise pop candor in “Talking To Ourselves,” a standout song about wanting to be heard and wondering if anyone is listening. “It describes a lot of what Rise Against does,” says McIlrath, “to speak and scream when we feel there are things that are happening that aren’t being addressed. And I think that’s a lot of what our fans feel too — the people in that front row all over the world want to be heard and listened to. I wanted to tap into that sentiment.”
The album’s stunning visuals also reinforce this sentiment, with a cohesive cross-campaign design created by Rolling Stone’s 2009 Album Designer of the Year Brian Roettinger, a Grammy nominee for his unique designs for Jay-Z and Florence and the Machine and Grammy winner for his work on St. Vincent’s campaign.
Nowhere Generation is Rise Against’s first release under a new agreement with Loma Vista Recordings and comes three years after their 2017 blockbuster Wolves that became their fifth straight top ten record on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Nowhere Generation was recorded at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado under the tutelage of Jason Livermore, Andrew Berlin, Chris Beeble, and long-time producer/engineer Bill Stevenson , who has worked with the band on nearly all of their acclaimed releases since their sophomore effort, 2003’s Revolutions Per Minute. Often described as Rise Against’s fifth member, Stevenson “is our not-so-secret weapon at this point,” says Principe. “Bill really has shaped the band. He always gets what we want to do and will go with us when we think outside the box, and he’s the perfect producer for the style of music we play because he has an insane pop sensibility and the hardcore side to him as well.”
The band was admittedly intimated to work with Stevenson at first, having grown up during the ’80s Reaganomics era worshipping albums like Black Flag’s My War alongside classics from Minor Threat, Fugazi, 7 Seconds, Bad Brains, and The Clash. “It’s almost hard to acknowledge that there’s someone out there that feels that what Fugazi was to me, Rise Against is to them,” says McIlrath. “But when I think about it through that filter, I feel there’s a responsibility of what we are doing. There’s somebody out there really counting on us to put how to feel into perspective. We are speaking the same language and have to be there for them. That’s what music is now more than ever, this great communicator.”
“When we first started Rise Against, we just wanted to be a dirty punk band, write some songs, play a bowling alley, and see how many mosh pits we could get going,” McIlrath jokes. “We did not anticipate it to snowball or that there was this audience for what we were doing. But we’ve come to realize people want honesty and that music can be a catalyst for change. I think in many ways, we’ve been on a mission to rile people up, and I feel very lucky to be able to do that. Every single song that comes and materializes, I feel lucky that those antennae are still up and getting a signal.”
After putting out their 2001 debut, The Unraveling, which Exclaim! hailed as “hardcore salvation,” Rise Against would find further success with 2006’s The Sufferer & The Witness that drew in an international crowd for the first time, and 2008’s Appeal To Reason that brandished the Gold Certified hit single “Savior” that to date has garnered half-a-billion streams and become one of the band’s six top ten singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Future albums have touched on issues of LGBTQ rights, animal rights, voting rights, environmental causes, and modern warfare, leading UK rock bible NME to herald Rise Against as “maybe the most important punk band on the planet.” Perhaps most important for the way in which they wholeheartedly engage with fans, whether in an explosive live show setting or on record.
“I would just hope that fans pick up on the fact that we are in this together, and if you are down in your life, you are not alone and there are people out there that are like-minded and there to help,” says Principe on the feeling he hopes listeners ultimately get from listening to Nowhere Generation. “It doesn’t all have to be shit; you can inspire change in your own personal life if you stand up and speak up.”
It was over 30 years ago that Dave Mustaine founded MEGADETH, in the process pioneering the sound that would become known the world over as thrash metal. And from the very beginning, the band proved to be the most lethal and audacious unit on the heavy music scene, pushing thrash to the limits of musical ferocity and instrumental virtuosity on early efforts like their 1985 debut, Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good! and 1986’s seminal Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?.
In the decades since, MEGADETH have taken their place as one of metal’s most influential and respected acts—not to mention among its most successful. They have gone on to sell more than 38 million albums worldwide, earning numerous accolades including a 2017 GRAMMY® Award for “Best Metal Performance” for the title track “Dystopia,” 12 GRAMMY® nominations, and scoring five consecutive platinum albums. With sheer determination and a relentless recording and touring schedule, MEGADETH worked their way up from headlining clubs to headlining arenas, festival and stadiums, cementing a legacy that continues to grow and spread throughout the world.
The band’s beginning started in 1984, Dave Mustaine was determined to start a new band that would be heavier and faster than his peers. Mustaine’s songwriting was rapidly maturing, and he set about combining the attitude and energy of punk, with the power and intricate riffing of metal, along with direct, sociopolitical lyrical content. With David Ellefson on bass and Gar Samuelson on drums, the band recorded their infamous 3-song demo which quickly circulated through the underground tape-trading circuit and became an underground hit leading to a deal with Combat Records. The band’s 1985 debut Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good, was the album that would lay down the blueprint and establish MEGADETH as one of the four pioneers, known as the “Big Four,” who virtually invented a genre with their debut album lauded by VH1 as the “Greatest Thrash Metal Debut Album of All Time”.
MEGADETH was quickly signed by Capitol Records and released their 1986 major label debut Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?, which became the band’s first certified gold record and would go on to become MEGADETH’s first platinum selling release which Pitchfork describes as “everything great about hardcore, plus a dose of the kind of show-off skill that makes lesser musicians’ fingers bleed.” They followed with their platinum selling So Far, So Good, So What! ; GRAMMY® nominated, platinum album Rust In Peace  featuring “Hanger 18” and “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due;” 1992 GRAMMY® nominated, double platinum release Countdown To Extinction with singles “Symphony of Destruction” and “Sweating Bullets”; “A Tout Le Monde” and “Reckoning Day” from their 1994 platinum selling release Youthanasia; “Kingmaker” from their 2013 Top Ten release Super Collider, which hit No. 3 on both the Hard Rock Albums and Top Rock Albums charts. “She-Wolf” was from the GRAMMY® nominated, Top Ten release Cryptic Writings .
In 2016 MEGADETH once again reinvented themselves as the legendary metal outfit, led by visionary singer, guitarist and songwriter Dave Mustaine, and released their 15th studio effort Dystopia, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200, No. 1 on the Hard Music/Top Rock Chart, No. 2 on the Top Album Sales chart, No. 2 on iTtunes’ Top Albums chart and No 1. on iTunes’ Metal chart. The title track “Dystopia” went on to win a 2017 GRAMMY® Award for “Best Metal Performance.” The album was the first MEGADETH effort to feature new guitarist Kiko Louriero and drummer Chris Adler, the latter on loan from Lamb of God. Together, they inject new levels of musical venom and instrumental dexterity into what was already a wickedly potent brew.
Since its release, MEGADETH had been touring around the world non-stop in support of Dystopia, adding Dirk Verbeuren as MEGADETH’s fulltime drummer.
In between tour legs, the band had been in the studio writing and recording when late last year, MEGADETH’s plans were temporarily sidelined when Mustaine was diagnosed with cancer. His bandmates all rallied around Mustaine and took on his MEGADETH commitments while he received treatment. Mustaine approached his cancer as with things all his life – devoting all his energy and passion – to succeed. With clearance from his doctors, Mustaine immediately returned to a full schedule as MEGADETH kicks off 2020 with a worldwide tour with the band continuing its work on their highly anticipated 16th studio album.
More than three decades after the release of Killing Is My Business, and following through benchmark metal masterpieces like Peace Sells, 1990’s Rust in Peace, 2009’s Endgame and 2016’s Dystopia, the thrash legends, with Mustaine firmly at the helm, are showing no signs of slowing down.
Over the past two decades Papa Roach have established themselves as true trendsetters in rock music: They’ve been nominated for two Grammys, toured the globe with everyone from Eminem to Marilyn Manson and crafted the nü metal anthem “Last Resort,” which is still in heavy rotation on rock radio seventeen years after its release. However, the group’s ninth full-length Crooked Teeth sees the band returning to their humble—and hungry—roots. The album was recorded in a cramped North Hollywood studio with up-and-coming producers Nicholas “RAS” Furlong and Colin Brittain, who grew up listening to Papa Roach and inspired them to revisit some of the traits that personally endeared the band to them, most notably frontman Jacoby Shaddix’s remarkable rapping technique. From the instantly infectious nature of the title track to the atmospheric sheen of the ballad “Periscope” and the hip-hop rock mashup “Sunrise Trailer Park” , Crooked Teeth displays the various sides of Papa Roach and illustrates why they’ve managed to remain relevant while musical trends ebb and flow. Crooked Teeth also sees Shaddix pulling no punches lyrically, as evidenced on intensely personal tracks like “Born For Greatness,” produced by Jason Evigan , which sees Shaddix getting sentimental about his three children, or “American Dreams” where the lifelong pacifist begs the listener to ask, “have you ever thought war was a sickness? The album’s acclaimed track “Help” debuted as the #1 Most Added at Active Rock and quickly became the #1 rock song in the country. Crooked Teeth is out May 19 via Eleven Seven Music.
Self-doubt and depression clawed at the edges of Lzzy Hale’s mind when it came time to pen Halestorm’s fourth album, a follow-up to 2015’s Into The Wild Life. The musician didn’t feel like she was where she needed to be, both professionally and personally. When she and her bandmates, Arejay Hale, Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith, began writing, Lzzy wasn’t even sure who she was. “I kept thinking, ‘Can I still do this?’” she says. “I went down a lot of rabbit holes, and I’m my own worst critic. I needed to get over a lot of internal hurdles during this writing and recording process. This record was about overcoming inner demons.”
The band began writing, but the first batch of songs didn’t feel quite right, so Halestorm scrapped it and started over. And in the end, Vicious represents Halestorm’s most personal and most inventive album, a deeply lived-with collection of songs teaming with genuine heart and soul. It’s also how Lzzy got her groove back. “I don’t think there was any other way for me to get through that difficult time than to write about it,” she says. “This record was like therapy.” The album was recorded with producer Nick Raskulinecz at Nashville, TN’s Rock Falcon recording studio, and the producer, with whom the band had previously worked with on their 2017 covers EP ReAniMate 3.0: The CoVeRs eP, pushed each musician to a new place musically. Each song went through five or six versions, and ultimately carry the listener on a journey, emphasizing the band’s strengths while revealing a dynamic evolution.
“Nick pushed us from 10 to 11,” Lzzy says. “He pushed us mentally and physically. There are some things on this record that I didn’t think were physically possible for both myself and my bandmates. It was really exciting to see that happen for the first time in the studio. To be able to still surprise each other like that – and to surprise yourself – is no small feat.”
One of the main goals in the studio was to capture real, human moments within the music, the sorts of unexpected instances that occur onstage. In recent years, Halestorm has introduced improvised flashes into their live sets with the idea of creating controlled chaos between the more orchestrated songs. The music on Vicious embraces this sensibility. The musicians worked to ensure that every song had its own dynamic feeling, both overall and within each verse. “It wasn’t just about looping the same thing over and over again,” Lzzy notes. “The idea was: Where can we take this that’s not predicable?”
The resulting album, which was culled from over 20 recorded tunes, solidifies everything Halestorm stands for as a band. It’s about empowerment, an ideal that the musicians have encouraged for years, and the songs urge you to be unapologetically yourself. Ultimately, it’s not just about being strong and taking on the storm – but also about how you rise above that storm. The album’s title comes from “Vicious,” a gritty, surging rock number that was written during the last moments of studio time. The song features the line “What doesn’t kill me makes me vicious,” a rallying cry to overcome any obstacles. “It’s about being strong and fierce,” Lzzy says. “The climate of the world right now is always seeping in, so we wanted it to feel really positive and empowering.” “Uncomfortable,” one of the first songs written for the album, has a similar tone, featuring a rapid-fire verse and impressive vocal licks on the chorus. “You can’t please everybody as much as you may want to try,” Lzzy says of the song. “By being yourself you may make people uncomfortable. I saw a lot of our fans struggling with that. This song is saying that it’s okay to not make everyone happy all the time. You can be yourself and that’s okay. And, in fact, you should be proud of that.”
References to Halestorm’s fans and Lzzy’s constant interactions with them online or on Twitter thread through the album. The musician, who calls the band’s fanbase “our comrades in this crazy life,” wanted to drop Easter eggs into the lyrics, reminding longtime listeners of past conversations or instances in Lzzy’s personal life they’ll likely remember. “I feel like our fans deserve that type of openness from us at this point,” she says. “The love they’ve given us comes full circle.”
Since their inception in 1998, Halestorm have toured extensively with a diverse variety of artists, including Eric Church, Avenged Sevenfold, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, ZZ Top and Evanescence. They’ve played around 2,500 dates around the world to date, and performed at festivals like Taste of Chaos and Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. The band scored a Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 2013, and Lzzy was named the “Dimebag Darrell Shredder of the Year” at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2016. Both Halestorm and The Strange Case of… were certified Gold, further evidencing Halestorm’s massively supportive fanbase. Halestorm have also made history: “Love Bites ,” the hit single from The Strange Case of… ascended to No. 1 at Active Rock radio in the U.S., making Halestorm the first-ever female-fronted group to earn the top spot on the format.
Today Halestorm exists as a beacon of hope and inspiration for musicians, particularly female musicians who want to brave the challenges of the music industry. Lzzy has been a pioneer in rock and proven that women have a place on the stage. Every night on tour, women – and men – in the audience can look to her and realize they too have the power to carve out their own path. Younger musicians admire her the same way she grew up admiring artists like Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks. “They helped me feel like I could do it, and I hope I’ve done the same for women today,” Lzzy says. “Trying to be my best self and not trying to be anything I’m not and being unapologetic feels like a good message. I feel a lot of responsibility to keep upholding that. I’m just trying to be the best me.”
Two decades into an accomplished career, Halestorm represents the results of true passion and hard work. The band has out-survived many of its peers and the musicians are still having fun after all this time. Vicious is evidence of a group of artists who refuse to ever plateau.
“This music chose us and we’re just hanging on,” Lzzy says. “Our greatest accomplishment is that we’ve been the same members for over 15 years and we’re continuing to make and release music. We want to always try new things. We’re still extremely hungry and open to opportunities, and we’re hungry to prove we deserve to be here. We’re so lucky to still be a band and have people care about our music. And there’s still so much more to do.”
Since forming in Pretoria, South Africa in 1999, Seether  has amassed a global fanbase that has grown organically with purpose and commitment, offering their fans around the world camaraderie, comfort and a sense of personal power. Their impressive sales and chart history includes three platinum and two gold albums, 17 #1 singles, 21 Top 5 multi-format hits, single sales topping 17 million and over 2 billion streams worldwide across all platforms. Seether is Billboard’s #8 All-Time Mainstream Rock Artist, which covers the 40-year history of the chart’s existence. Their latest LP, the acclaimed, Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum  was released last summer via Fantasy Records. A primal mix of euphoria and misery, the new album ranks among the strongest material of Seether’s illustrious career and includes the recent #1 singles “Dangerous,” “Bruised and Bloodied,” and the soon to be released “Wasteland.”
BUSH has compiled an amazing string of 18 Top 40 hit singles on the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts, including 11 that hit the Top 5. Six became No. 1 hits: “Comedown,” “Glycerine,” “Machinehead,” “Swallowed,” “The Chemicals Between Us” and “The Sound of Winter.” In 2011, Bush re-entered the fray withThe Sea of Memories, their first release in 10 years. They returned to the top of the charts, with lead single “The Sound of Winter” making rock radio history as the first self-released song ever to hit No. 1 at Alternative Rock Radio, where it stayed for six consecutive weeks. Their story continues with new album Black and White Rainbows, which People magazine called “a triumphant return.” Gavin Rossdale also recently served as one of the coaches for the hit TV series, “The Voice UK.”
Since coming to life in 2005, gold-selling hard rock provocateurs In This Moment have presided over a diehard fan base under the watch of “mother” figure and frontwoman Maria Brink—joined by co-founder and lead guitarist Chris Howorth, bassist Travis Johnson, guitarist Randy Weitzel, and Kent Dimmel. As millions convened upon the group’s otherworldly and unforgettable concerts, they quietly emerged as one of the most influential and impactful bands of the 21st century. To date, the quintet have garnered two gold singles—“Blood” and “Whore”—and one gold album, Blood . The latter notably launched a trifecta of Top 25 entries on the Billboard Top 200 with Black Widow and Ritual . Bringing their total stream tally well past 200 million as of 2020, Ritual elevated them to new creative and critical peaks as well. In a 4-out-of-5 star review, KERRANG! called it “their best vehicle to date” as Alternative Press claimed, “Maria Brink is the Lady Gaga of the metal world” and went on to add, “Ritual flourishes as the metal love child of art-pop, gospel, Morrissey and Johnny Cash that the world didn’t know it needed until now.” Between selling out headline tours coast-to-coast, the group performed in arenas everywhere alongside Disturbed and appeared at countless festivals from Rockville to Sonic Temple.
Along the way, they assembled their seventh full-length, the aptly titled Mother with longtime trusted collaborator Kevin Churko . Whereas Ritual hinted at a bluesy sonic sorcery, Mother breathes the activating mantra of an unbreakable spell, commenced on first single “The In-Between.”
Formed in Byron Bay in 2002, Parkway Drive have released six studio albums, all on Epitaph: Killing with a Smile , Horizons , Deep Blue , Atlas , IRE , Reverence .
Reverence entered the official German and Swiss albums charts at #3, Austrian at #5, Belgian at #6, United Kingdom at #14, and US at #35. In their home country Australia, it debuted at #1.
In 2020 the band released the documentary ‘Viva The Underdogs,’ which features over a decade of behind the scenes personal footage, coupled with unprecedented access to the band’s most explosive live tours and world’s biggest music festivals. The soundtrack for the documentary was released in the same year. Featuring 11 live tracks from the band’s 2019 headlining set at German heavy metal festival Wacken Open Air, the soundtrack also includes 3 studio tracks recorded in German; “Würgegriff ”, “Die Leere ”, and “Schattenboxen ” which features German rapper Casper.
It’s a commitment to an ideal, a belief system. The lifestyle and trappings may appear to be glamorous and romantic, but the road isn’t easy. It requires staying power and an enormous amount of faith. The Pretty Reckless—Taylor Momsen , Ben Phillips , Jamie Perkins , and Mark Damon —are truly a rock and roll band, as evidenced by their 2021-released fourth album Death By Rock And Roll . The critically-acclaimed record landed at No. 1 on multiple sales charts, including Billboard’s Top Albums, Rock, Hard Music, and Digital Charts, upon release.
The album and band were met with near-universal praise from top-tier media, including American Songwriter, Alternative Press, Bustle, CNN, Consequence of Sound, The Daily Beast, Forbes, Guitar World, Hustler, Loudwire, SPIN, V Magazine, Paper, Revolver, Women’s Wear Daily, and more.
The Pretty Reckless’ unbelievable 12-year journey has quietly brought them from sweaty small gigs to successive number one hits, platinum plaques, and some of the biggest stages in the world—unprecedented for a rock act this century.
Formed in New York City during 2008, the musicians and late producer Kato Khandwala initially made waves with their 2010 debut, Light Me Up. After countless gigs, they lit a fuse to burn everything down on Going To Hell in 2014. Not only did the record crash the Top 5 of the Billboard Top 200, but it also ignited three #1 hits—the Platinum-certified “Heaven Knows” , “Fucked Up World,” and “Follow Me Down”—a feat that had not been accomplished by a female-fronted group since The Pretenders in 1984. Meanwhile, their third offering, Who You Selling For, saw them return to #1 on the Mainstream Rock Songs Chart with “Take Me Down,” which cemented them as “the first band to send its first four singles to #1 on the chart,” according to Billboard. Praise followed from Vogue, Nylon, and more as the quartet lit up television shows such as Letterman and Conan. With over half-a-billion streams, they headlined countless sold out shows and toured with Guns N’ Roses and many other heavy hitters.
However, 2017 set off a series of events that shook the group to its very core, yet ultimately cast Death By Rock And Roll in the kind of fire, tears and blood that doesn’t ever wash off…
“There was no way to hide from this,” exclaims Taylor. “There was no running from what happened. I didn’t have to ‘write’ it; it was just infused into what we’re doing.
As the story goes, The Pretty Reckless landed a prestigious tour in 2017, opening for Soundgarden in packed amphitheaters across the country.  Then, following a rapturous gig in Detroit, Chris Cornell tragically took his life. The aftershocks reverberated throughout popular culture and left a scar on The Pretty Reckless. They retreated, cancelling most of their touring and disappeared from the public eye.  It got even worse eleven months later, when The Pretty Reckless’ muse, friend and longtime producer Kato, had died in a motorcycle crash.
“It sent us into a downward spiral.” Ben reflects, “We fell apart. It turned into a world of depression and substance abuse.  At that point, we had to try and figure out how to continue making music. It was either death or go forward.”
So, Taylor and Ben turned to writing songs to channel the emotional toll, and in late 2018, The Pretty Reckless returned to the studio to record. For the first time, Taylor and Ben co-produced with longtime friend Jonathan Wyman. And the results are inspiring on so many levels. The sessions took well over a year in the studio, and the band introduced the album with the track “Death By Rock and Roll.” The song starts hauntingly with a recording of Kato’s footsteps leading to a bold bluesy riff that snakes through the distortion. The din subsides on a solo vocal as the frontwoman croons, “On my tombstone when I go, just put, ‘Death By Rock and Roll’.” Her howl takes hold in between the massive beat and fiery fretwork.
The song quickly ascended to No. 1 on the rock charts, marking the band’s fifth chart-topper to date. It’s a feat that has not been achieved by any female-fronted rock act in the chart’s history, turning “Death By Rock and Roll” into a true “moment” for The Pretty Reckless.
“It has our whole mentality in the lyrics,” she goes on. “It’s not a morbid song. It’s, ‘I’m going to live my way; I’m going out my way’. That’s the rock and roll ethic. It’s empowering.”
Elsewhere, Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello lends his axe to the rambunctious and raucous “And So It Went” which became the follow up single and also went straight up the radio charts, giving the band consecutive No. 1 singles.
Bringing the trip full circle, The Pretty Reckless joined forces with Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil for “Only Love Can Save Me Now.” Tracked at the legendary London Bridge Studio in Seattle, it marked the first time Matt and Kim recorded at the space since Soundgarden’s Louder Than Love. Nearing the six-minute mark, it trudges through detuned bliss and an off-kilter time signature before Kim conjures a slippery psychedelic solo as Taylor admits, “I want to be saved from the sound,” over Matt’s percussive wizardry. “Lyrically, it goes with the world now,” Taylor adds. “It references what we’re all going through.”
And as the third single from the album, it too, topped the charts, making it a back-to-back-to-back run of No. 1 singles.
The track was yet another watershed moment, as it marked three consecutive No. 1s at rock radio from two different albums and served as the band’s seventh No. 1 overall. Ultimately, TPR racked up the most No. 1 singles at the format by a female or female-fronted band ever.
Then, there’s “25.” Her gravelly timbre quakes above an ominous funeral march and echoes of strings. She screams, “At 25, all hope has died and the glass of my intentions turns to sand…shatters in my hand.” Meanwhile, “Got So High” bleeds into a heavenly stoned refrain as an acoustic guitar rings out. After the nostalgic “Rock and Roll Heaven,” the record sails off to Valhalla on “Harley Darling” ushered along by harmonica, the sound of an engine revving and a devilish dedication as she sings, “Oh, Harley darling, you took my friend, you took everything and now I’m alone again.”
The Pretty Reckless sound more alive than ever…
“We lived this” Ben leaves off. “Rock and roll means everything to us. Taylor sacrificed everything for this record. I think it shows.”
“We stuck to our ethics,” she concludes. “We built this up over time. Either you throw it all away or go for it. It’s cliché, but rock and roll saved our lives.”
Cemented as one of the best-selling rock bands of the 21st century and Pandora Billionaires Club recipients, the two-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated multiplatinum Wisconsin quartet SKILLET—John Cooper , Korey Cooper , Jen Ledger , and Seth Morrison —write the soundtrack to triumph. An undying spirit humbly asserted and affirmed the band as one of this generation’s most successful rock acts. However, as all classic underdog stories do, it happened quietly under the radar. By 2019, they not only garnered a pair of GRAMMY® Award nods and sold over 12 million albums worldwide, but they also took home a Billboard Music Award for the double-platinum Awake. Its breakout single “Monster” remains “one of the most-streamed rock songs of all-time” with over 3 Billion global audio streams. 2016’s Unleashed bowed at #3 on the Billboard Top 200. Going #1 on Rock Radio, the lead single “Feel Invincible” cracked 150 million global audio streams and went platinum. Meanwhile, the gold-certified Unleashed became their fourth consecutive album to receive either a gold, platinum, or double-platinum status. To date, nine original tunes earned RIAA recognition in tandem with high-profile syncs by everyone from WWE and Marvel to ESPN and NFL. Between selling out arenas on four continents, the group performed on CONAN and graced the pages of USA Today and New York Times, to name a few. In 2018 alone, the band clocked 1 billion streams. This momentum continued on their 2019 tenth full-length, Victorious. It arrived in the Top 20 of the Billboard Top 200 as “Legendary” delivered over 25.9 million Spotify streams in under a year. Not to mention, Skillet debuted their first graphic novel, EDEN: A Skillet Graphic Novel with Z2 Comics, which has become the publisher’s best-selling book of all time and paves the way for the sequel in 2020. At the same time, they emerged as a global force. The band consistently sells out arenas on multiple continents, packing venues across Europe, Russia, Australia, and beyond. Additionally, they’ve graced the stages of top international festivals such as Download, Pinkpop, and more. Faced with unprecedented circumstances and stuck at home with the rest of us in 2020, John and Korey once again found a way to spread a bit of light. Taking to Instagram Live, they served up a series of highly-trafficked performances and ultimately set the stage for the Deluxe Edition of their tenth full-length offering, Victorious: The Aftermath , comprising four “piano versions” and three unreleased new originals in 2020.
Sonic Brew – 20th Anniversary Blend 5.99 – 5.19 is nothing like the infamously awful, failed experiment of New Coke. This is the original formula, like Coke Classic, but spiked with Viagra, the Captain America super soldier serum, and triple the caffeine.
It’s less of a floor to ceiling remodel than it is a fresh coat of paint, in preparation for another crazy house party. Zakk Wylde and crew were careful not to mess with the magic captured on the long lost two-inch tape. Instead, they blessed the master with some note-for-note enhancement, spicing up Sonic Brew with a perfected recipe.
“I don’t want to hear Led Zeppelin II redone, with the band just replaying the whole record,” notes the charismatic frontman and gregarious guitar icon. “The performances and everything are a snapshot in time. We just added on top of what was already there on the original recordings. It’s like we went in and did surgery on this thing. We took the original CD master and added things that made it stronger.”
Two decades on from the band’s inception, Black Label Society soared to Number 4 on the Billboard Current Albums chart with their tenth studio album, Grimmest Hits . It was the third consecutive Top 5 debut for BLS, right behind Catacombs of the Black Vatican and Order of the Black . Grimmest Hits opened at Number 1 on both the Hard Music Albums and Independent Albums charts, as well.
Equal parts adrenalized fury and earnest emotion the BLS songbook plays a unique role in the lives of the band’s fans. The group cranks out anthems to turn up in revelry and tragedy, songs with which to celebrate and songs with which to mourn.
Mighty missives like “Stillborn,” “Bleed for Me,” “Funeral Bell,” “In This River,” “Concrete Jungle,” “Parade of the Dead,” “My Dying Time,” and “Room of Nightmares” have amassed millions of downloads, streams, and video views. They are the soundtracks to jubilant evenings that descend into bewildering mornings.
While members of esteemed rock and metal institutions like Alice In Chains, Metallica, Type O Negative, Clutch, Danzig, and Megadeth have passed through the band’s ranks, Black Label Society has consistently been defined by Wylde’s unmistakable voice and signature guitar sound and the steady rumble of bassist John DeServio. Bluesy guitarist Dario Lorina and powerhouse drummer Jeff Fabb joined Wylde and DeServio in the BLS crusade back in 2013 and 2012, respectively.
An energized beast and consummate showman, Black Label Society’s frontman bears his heart and soul with unchained passion, in both crushingly heavy blues-rock barnstormers and acoustic and/or piano-driven laments alike. The band are vigilant keepers of the flame. Zakk’s signature Les Paul Bullseye guitar hangs in the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, his infamous leather bellbottoms in L.A.’s Grammy Museum, his handprints on Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame. He wrote the 2013 Major League Baseball theme for ESPN. He’s graced the cover of every guitar mag.
A lifelong disciple of Black Sabbath and the longest serving guitar-shredder for the Ozzman himself, Wylde co-wrote modern Ozzy Osbourne classics like “No More Tears,” “Mama I’m Coming Home,” “Road to Nowhere,” and “Miracle Man.” Together with Ozzy bassist Blasko and ex-Queens Of The Stone Age drummer Joey Castillo, Wylde pays faithful tribute to the forefathers of metal as frontman for Zakk Sabbath.
Wylde, who was still in his teens when he got his demo tape into Ozzy’s hands, was part of No More Tears , the double-platinum Ozzmosis, and a Best Metal Performance Grammy win.
A one-off record with Pride & Glory in 1994 was followed by Zakk’s first solo album, Book of Shadows . Sonic Brew introduced Black Label Society to the world, igniting a molten momentum that barely slowed for the arrival of Book of Shadows II , 20 years after its predecessor. It’s beautifully serendipitous that Sonic Brew – 20th Anniversary Blend 5.99 – 5.19 now marks a similar landmark anniversary.
“After the Book of Shadows record had its run, I was just like, ‘Well, what am I going to do?’” Wylde remembers. “I wasn’t playing with Oz at the time. I was playing with Guns N’ Roses but that was in limbo. I had all of these riffs. So I was just like, ‘I’ll sing it myself!’ Phil and I had a blast making Sonic Brew. It was more rock than when I did the Pride and Glory thing, but there’s tinges of that stuff in there with the riffs, and then there’s always been mellow stuff on the records.”
The Black Label Society studio discography is like an instruction manual on how to expertly craft heartfelt, no holds barred, heavy metal infused American hard rock. Sonic Brew , Stronger Than Death , 1919 Eternal , The Blessed Hellride , Hangover Music Vol. VI , Mafia , Shot to Hell , Order of the Black , Catacombs of the Black Vatican , and Grimmest Hits should be required listening for all aspiring blues-based rock musicians.
“Sonic Brew was the beginning. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years,” Zakk marvels.
Thanks to a new arrangement with Entertainment One , the BLS back catalog is now all in one place, uniting the band’s earlier work with their more recent output. The “re-blended” version of their classic debut is resurrected bigger than ever without sacrificing its familiar kick. Plus, there are two bonus cuts: a full band/piano version of “Spoke in the Wheel” and an acoustic take on “Black Pearl.”
Wylde’s powerful pipes, mayhem-inducing charisma, mischievous humor, and instantly recognizable shredding have made him a beloved figure to rock audiences the world over. One part invading-horde, one part traveling carnival party, Black Label Society continues to engage and inspire, powered by caffeine and cacophony.
Beyond the instantly identifiable riffs and equally recognizable vocals, Jerry Cantrell will always be known as a songwriter, first and foremost. Those songs comprise his influential catalog as co-founder, vocalist, lead guitarist and main songwriter of the iconic Alice In Chains and as a solo artist whose music resounds across culture. He penned two classic solo albums—Boggy Depot and Degradation Trip Volumes 1 & 2 —and appeared on chart-topping records by everyone from Metallica to Ozzy Osbourne, Glenn Danzig, & Deftones. His music can be heard in the films of Academy® Award winner Cameron Crowe and Judd Apatow in addition to blockbuster franchises such as John Wick and Spider-Man. Throughout his career, he’s garnered eleven GRAMMY® Award nominations, logged multiple #1 hits at radio, sold north of 30 million records, and received the 2020 Museum of Pop Culture Founders Award as a member of Alice In Chains.
Not to mention, Guitar World cited him as one of the “100 Greatest Guitar Players of All Time. ”Additionally, he received the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award from MusiCares in addition to supporting numerous charities over the years. However, he continues to put the songs first on his third full-length solo offering, Brighten, released on October 29, 2021. Led by the singles “Atone” and “Brighten,” these tunes are a worthy addition to Cantrell’s repertoire and the larger American rock ‘n’ roll
The third full-length from British rock band The Struts, Strange Days came to life over the course of a charmed and frenzied burst of creativity last spring. After getting tested for COVID-19, singer Luke Spiller, guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies all moved into the Los Angeles home of Jon Levine, a producer who worked extensively on their acclaimed sophomore effort YOUNG & DANGEROUS . Within just ten days of couch-crashing at Levine’s house, The Struts had laid down nine original tracks and one masterful cover of a KISS B-side: a lean, mean body of work that amounts to their most glorious output to date.
“It was so much fun to make a record this way instead of getting everything done in between touring, working with multiple producers in multiple countries,” says Spiller. “We were all just burning to capture that excitement as much as we possibly could, and at times it felt like the songs were literally just falling from the sky.”
In an organic turn of events for a band massively embraced by some of rock-and-roll history’s greatest icons—a feat that’s included opening for The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Guns N’ Roses—Strange Days finds The Struts joining forces with a formidable lineup of guest musicians: Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott and Phil Collen, Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes, Tom Morello, and Robbie Williams. Mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer , the result is a powerhouse album that lifts The Struts’ glammed-up breed of modern rock to entirely new and wildly thrilling heights.
Kicking off with a magnificent bang, Strange Days opens on its title track, a sprawling and string-laced duet with Robbie Williams. “I was doing Quarantine Radio and Robbie hit me up out of the blue asking if we could talk,” notes Spiller, referring to the Instagram Live show launched by The Struts in the early days of lockdown. “We ended up Face-Timing for about two hours the first time we’d ever spoken, talking about life and music and UFOs and everything else you can think of. I asked if he’d like to work together at some point, and while we were making the album he graciously let us come over and record him singing on his front porch.” Despite its prescient title, “Strange Days” took shape from a voice memo Spiller recorded on the band’s tour bus way back in summer 2019. Fused with a cabaret-inspired interlude Spiller had recently dreamed up, the song ultimately evolved into the perfect vessel for the frontman’s force-of-nature voice: a tenderhearted epic that offers incredible solace in the most chaotic of times.
Sparked from a Britpop-leaning riff brought in by Slack, the album’s potent lead single “Another Hit of Showmanship” feat. Albert Hammond Jr. centers on another poignant vocal performance from Spiller, who deftly channels the tension between giving in to temptation and rising above your demons. After laying down the initial version of the track, Spiller reached out to Hammond, for whom the band opened on a series of 2018 solo shows. “‘Another Hit of Showmanship’ reminds me of being at a club night called Ramshackle years ago at the O2 Academy in Bristol, where they’d play bands like The Libertines and Razorlight and Scissor Sisters, and of course The Strokes,” says Spiller. “I hit up Albert out of the blue and told him, ‘We’ve got this song, and I’m so excited to see what you would do with it.’ As soon as he got his hands on it, he took it to a whole different level—it really just shows why he’s so brilliant at what he does.”
The most groovy-heavy work yet from The Struts, Strange Days also delivers hip-shaking standouts like “I Hate How Much I Want You”: a hot-and-bothered stomper graced with a scorching guitar solo from Phil Collen and Joe Elliott’s high-voltage vocals. Another explosive moment, “All Dressed Up ” unfolds in snarling power chords and exquisitely cheeky lyrics . “That one’s based around the idea of being in love with your motorcycle—there’s a bit of innuendo to it,” says Spiller, whose own bike inspired the track. “The whole concept of being all dressed up with nowhere to go seems especially relevant the moment.” Meanwhile, “Wild Child” makes for a fierce and filthy anthem, infinitely supercharged by Tom Morello’s blistering guitar work. And on the beautifully weary “Burn It Down,” The Struts slip into a bittersweet mood, serving up a slow-burning ballad that sounds straight from the sessions for Exile on Main St.
The sole cover song on Strange Days, “Do You Love Me” finds The Struts updating a fantastically sleazy track first recorded by KISS in 1976 and remade in 1980 by Girl . “I was so in love with Girl’s version of ‘Do You Love Me’ and thought the simplicity of it was amazing,” says Spiller. “I wanted to give it an even bigger sound for our album—something way more aggressive, completely balls-to-the-wall.”
In their supreme handling of “Do You Love Me,” The Struts again claim their rightful place in the lineage of rock-and-roll hellraisers. Formed in Derby, England, in 2012, the band quickly drew a major following with their outrageous live show, and later made their debut with Have You Heard . Before they’d even put out their first album, the band opened for The Rolling Stones before a crowd of 80,000 in Paris and toured the U.S. on a string of sold-out shows. With their full-length debut Everybody Wants arriving in 2016, The Struts released YOUNG & DANGEROUS in 2018, soon after wrapping up a North American tour with Foo Fighters. Having toured incessantly since their formation, The Struts have also taken the stage at many the world’s biggest music festivals, including Lollapalooza, Governors Ball, Isle of Wight, and many more.
As Spiller reveals, the making of Strange Days was a period of joyful productivity. “Every day I’d wake up at about 7 a.m., get three venti Americanos delivered to the house, go out to the backyard and smoke a couple of spliffs, and listen to the voice memos I’d recorded at the sessions the day before,” he recalls. “After the first four days or so we hit a bit of a wall, so we decided to get some beers in and just stay in the pool all day—and the day after that we knocked out three whole songs.” Throughout Strange Days, that kinetic energy manifests in the album’s unbridled spirit, an element that makes every track exhilarating. “I think because we’d wanted to make an album this way for years, all that excitement and hunger led to an immediate sort of magic once we started working on it,” says Spiller. “It was undoubtedly a magical ten days for us—and I hope when people hear the album, it gives them a taste of that magic too.”
With the release of their highly anticipated 12th studio album, the gloriously titled “Book of Bad Decisions”, it would be easy to suggest that legendary Maryland rockers Clutch have made their finest record to date. This may even be true. You see, the thing about Clutch is that ever since their 1993 debut Transnational Speedway League they’ve been in the business of writing stone cold classics, and even the most rabid fan would have trouble picking just one. “Book of Bad Decisions” won’t make that task any easier. Rest assured, it’s another classic. Recorded over three weeks at Sputnik Studios in Nashville, “Book of Bad Decisions” was produced by four-time Grammy winner Vance Powell , a man who apparently knows that a one degree angle change in microphones makes a difference to how an instrument sounds. Interestingly, his name first came to the band’s attention via country star Chris Stapleton.
“It started with my brother-in-law, who’s a huge Chris Stapleton fan,” says drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. “He and I would listen to The Traveller quite a bit, and one thing that stood out was that it didn’t sound like any other country record that I’d heard. Shortly after that I was on Spotify, and a song by The Dead Weather came up. It just blew me away and I could tell that whoever produced that record was doing things a different way. I looked it up and there was Vance Powell’s name again, so something was telling us that this is a guy we should reach out to.” “Even though Chris Stapleton does music that’s not too much like our own, the sonics of the record are pretty great,” says frontman Neil Fallon. “He has a very different approach to recording; he comes from the school of live recording and engineering, and the songs, on tape, are not gonna sound that much different from what we do live.” No stranger to the road, Powell spent three days on tour with the band in order to get a feel for what they do best, watching first from the front of house and then from the stage, checking out the live sound and how Clutch connect with their audience.
“I never go into a record having an idea of how it’s gonna sound,” he says. “But after hearing them live, I had an idea of how they could sound. I’m a big live recording fan, so I like when bands play together and I didn’t wanna get into that manufacturing a record concept. I wanted it to be real organic.” Indeed, ‘organic’ is a word that comes up a lot when talking to Clutch about the new record, Powell taking great care to get guitar tones right and making sure that each song had its own identity.
“Vance is all about vintage guitar sounds,” says guitarist Tim Sult. “I probably had more amplifier options than on any other album we’ve done. It was like going back to a music store in 1960! This was the first time I’ve ever recorded with amps from the ’50s and I ended up buying a couple of ’50s amps while we were in Nashville.” “I felt really good about the gear that I was bringing into the studio,” concurs bassist Dan Maines, “but Vance had this 1974 Ampeg and I’m so glad that he recommended that. As soon as we plugged it in, it sounded like Sabbath! We ended up using it alongside one of my amps, and I loved it so much that once we were done recording I scoured the ads for another one. What I really like is that each song has a different tone to it, and I think that’s Vance Powell’s style.”
With each band member contributing riffs to the album – including Jean-Paul who has added mandolin to his repertoire – there was no shortage of material, 2020 New Air Jordan 1s Low Gym Red White Shoes Online each song road-tested long before it reached the studio. Hell, with 15 songs, “Book of Bad Decisions” could easily pass as a double album! Always wary of repeating themselves and retreading old ground, there is even – for the first time on a Clutch album – a horn section that swings like James Brown’s pants!
“The third night I was watching the band,” says Vance, “they did this song that at that time was called Talkbox, which is now In Walks Barbarella. While Neil was singing, I was thinking to myself, “wow, there’s a horn line here!” And while he was singing, I was humming it to myself. I brought it up to them, tenuously, and they were like, “okay, let’s do it!” This is as Parliament, Funkadelic as it gets, maybe even a James Brown vibe!”
One thing, however, that is entirely as expected, is that as arguably the greatest rock lyricist of modern times, Fallon, as always, has provided some interesting subject matter, everything from poets to presidents and recipes to rock ‘n’ roll. You may have to Google some of it, because Fallon is nothing if not a clever bugger, and likes to keep his audience on their toes. “Most of the time I have no idea what he’s talking about,” laughs Jean-Paul, “but the lyrics completely inform how I’m going to play that tune. Whether or not I understand exactly what Neil is singing about is not important. I listen to the way Neil sings those words and I think about what those words mean to me, and that, ultimately, informs how I’m gonna play drums on that song.” “I think I probably second guess myself into doing that,” says Neil of his lyrical style. “I would rather not be able to answer all the questions, just to keep it interesting for myself. Sometimes a rhyme sounds awesome and I don’t know what it means, but I’ll go with it anyway. It’s become more difficult to write lyrics now that I have Wikipedia at my fingertips, because you can go down rabbit hole after rabbit hole and not get anything done! Not too long ago you’d have to spend months in a public library trying to find out the things you can find in a couple of keystrokes.”
Elsewhere, however, you’ll find a more straightforward approach to lyrics, A Good Fire relating the memory of hearing Black Sabbath for the first time – something that everyone can relate to – while Sonic Counselor pays homage to Clutch fans. Indeed, it’s fair to say that Clutch fans – collectively known as Gearheads – are a breed like no other. “I’ve always loved rock songs that just celebrated rock ‘n’ roll,” grins Fallon, “but that song was a bit more about the people who come to our shows, that make it as exciting for us as hopefully it is for them. My favorite shows that I’ve seen bands do is like going to church, especially when everybody’s in sync with each other and you walk out with your jaw on the floor. I feel incredibly grateful that people have walked out of our shows and felt the same way. It’s a tip of the hat to them.”
“We’re exceptionally lucky to have the fans we have,” Jean-Paul agrees. “They’re diehard, and because of that, we take this that much more seriously. We do not take this for granted. We know that those folks could be anywhere else, and they’ve chosen to spend the evening at a Clutch show, so we’re gonna do the best we can to provide them with the best musical experience we can. I think that translates to the records, because at the end of the day, all you have is your records. When this whole thing wraps up, those are gonna be the things that go down in history.”
You know it’s DOWN as soon as you hear them. That’s the way it’s always been, and nothing will ever change that. There’s no mistaking those gargantuan riffs, swamp blues leads, crashing drums, and hypnotic howls for absolutely anybody else under the sun. The band upholds a certain tradition that countless fans celebrate, expanding their own musical mythos as they leave its pillars intact and untouched.
With a collective resume encompassing Pantera, Corrosion Of Conformity, Crowbar, and EyeHateGod, the quintet puffed out its first haze of sonic smoke from the belly of gritty old New Orleans on the 1995 platinum-selling classic, NOLA. At that moment, they naturally summoned something akin to a ritual, continually partaking in it with critically revered offerings — Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow in 2002, Down III: Over The Under in 2007, Down IV – Part One in 2012, and Down IV – Part Two in 2014. Their shows built a certain live lore with unforgettable runs alongside Metallica and Heaven & Hell, as well as coveted spots on iconic festivals like Download, Soundwave, Ozzfest, and so many others, forever delivering passionate, powerful, pure heavy music you can feel deep down in your soul.
After enduring a year like 2020, no one could have possibly expected Al Jourgensen to stay silent on the maelstrom of the past 12 months. As the mastermind behind pioneering industrial outfit Ministry, Jourgensen has spent the last four decades using music as a megaphone to rally listeners to the fight for equal rights, restoring American liberties, exposing exploitation and putting crooked politicians in their rightful place—set to a background of aggressive riffs, searing vocals and manipulated sounds to drive it home.
As Jourgensen watched the chaos that befell the world during the height of a global pandemic and the tensions rising from one of the most important elections in American history, he seized on the opportunity to write, spending quarantine holed up in his self-built home studio—Scheisse Dog Studio— along with engineer Michael Rozon and girlfriend Liz Walton to create Ministry’s latest masterpiece, Moral Hygiene . Anchored by last year’s leadoff track “Alert Level”—which asks listeners to internalize the question “How concerned are you?”—the 10 songs on this upcoming 15th studio album cover the breadth of the current dilemmas facing humanity, while ruminating on the sizable impact of COVID-19, the inevitable effects of climate change, consequences of misinformed conspiracies and the stakes in the fight for racial equality. And most importantly doing so with the lens of what we as a society are going to do about it all.
“The one good thing about taking a year off from any social activity is that you really get to sit back and get an overview of things as opposed to being caught up in the moment,” says Jourgensen, “and what became inevitably clear is that the times are changing and this past year has been a wake up call—and that’s a very good thing. Because society as we have known it the past few decades has needed to change,” he continues. “Ever since Reagan and the girth of Wall Street, we have become too close to the belief that greed is good. Society has really taken a dark turn and now we are bearing the fruit of that that misdirection driven by the idea that it’s all about me and not other people and to take care of yourself and fuck everything else. We now more than ever need moral hygiene. It’s what we have to return to in order to function as the human species on this planet.”
Moral Hygiene comes on the heels of Ministry’s acclaimed 2018 album AmeriKKKant that was written as a reaction to Donald J. Trump being elected president—though Jourgensen says this new album is more informational and reflective in tone. “With AmeriKKKant I was in shock that Trump won. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I had to do something. Because I believe if you are a musician or an artist you should be expressing what’s going on around you through your art. It’s going to happen whether you do it consciously or unconsciously. Moral Hygiene however has progressed even further into a cautionary tale of what will happen if we don’t act. There’s less rage, but there’s more reflection and I bring in some guests to help cement that narrative.”
In addition to recruiting long-time cohort Jello Biafra for the quirky earworm “Sabotage Is Sex,” other guest appearances include guitarist Billy Morrison on a rendition of The Stooges hit “Search & Destroy.” There’s also the riotous track “Good Trouble,” inspired by the message of activism and social justice in John Lewis’ posthumously published essay, released by New York Times after the Congressman’s passing last July.
“I remember watching the coverage of his death and the next day seeing this entire letter from him come out and thinking not only is John Lewis a Civil Rights icon but he was so astute to think of how that legacy could fit into the progress of the future,” says Jourgensen. “That letter was so heartfelt and his words were so much aligned with my own ideals I just immediately knew I wanted to dedicate a song to him. That track really is the moral backbone of this album.” Another standout track is “Believe Me,” featuring a throwback vocal style from Jourgensen that harkens back to his singing on Twitch and cult classic “ Halloween.” The song came out of a jam session with Morrison, Cesar Soto and sampling from Liz Walton, and reminded Jourgensen of his formative days at Chicago Trax Studios where communal ideas were constantly informing early Ministry records. “’Believe Me’ had such an old school vibe I wanted to bring back old school vocals. …It’s funny how things come back to you,” says Jourgensen, also reflecting on Ministry turning 40 in 2021.
Though there have been other side projects over the years including Revolting Cocks and Surgical Meth Machine, Ministry remains Jourgensen’s lifetime passion project, and was first established in Chicago in 1981 through a relationship with legendary Wax Trax! Records. In its earliest days, Ministry was identifiable by a synth-pop style in line with the new sounds and technology that were being developed in the ‘80s, no moreso than on the infamous LP With Sympathy released by Arista Records in 1983. Yet as time progressed, so did Ministry, quickly developing a harsher and more stylized sound that found the band and Jourgensen heralded as the godfathers of industrial music amidst the release of seminal albums Twitch , The Land of Rape and Honey , and The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste that became cultural cornerstones. With Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and The Way to Suck Eggs , Ministry hit an all time high in the mainstream and received its first of six lifetime Grammy nominations. Eight more albums would follow before an indefinite break in 2013, only to be unearthed again in 2018 with AmeriKKKant. With the release of Moral Hygiene, Jourgensen is more positive than before. “This may sound crazy but I’m more hopeful about 2021 than I have been in two decades at least,” he says. “Because I do see things changing; people are starting to see through all the bullshit and want to get back to actual decorum in society. We could just treat each other nicely and be treated nicely in return. I never thought Ministry would be in the position of preaching traditional values, but this is the rebellion now.”
Grammy-nominated exploratory rock band Baroness return with their most ambitious work to date, fifth album Gold & Grey. Set for release on the band’s own Abraxan Hymns, Gold & Grey spills triumphantly past genre barriers, their anthemic alt-metal hooks ricocheting between the circuitous twists of prog and jazz, the moody swirls of space-rock and noise, and the hypnotic pulses of trip-hop and 20th Century minimalism.
“This is the most clear representation of the artistic vision I have for the band that we’ve ever done,” says Baroness vocalist, guitarist and founder John Baizley. “I’m surprised that we got as far with it as we did.”
Baizley sees the diverse, adventurous album as a “lateral step” from the streamlined, immediate guitar-rock of the band’s last release, Purple, championed by Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and L.A. Weekly as one of the best metal albums of 2015. Gold & Grey works like a melodic puzzle, melodies and harmonic ideas borrowed, repurposed and reinterpreted across three sides of vinyl. Lyrics are full of sonic Easter eggs; unorthodox prog is hidden inside the most accessible songs; tunes emerge from swirling chaos and dense layers of sound. The album is given color by strings, glockenspiel, tubular bells, piano, synthesizers and even field recordings of the chaos after a transformer blew up outside of the recording studio.
“The term I kept using was that I wanted to create something that was more kaleidoscopic than our former records,” says Baizley, who embraced the wide lens and limitless journeying of artists like Pink Floyd, Neurosis, Massive Attack and Scott Walker. “We were trying to say something new with our instruments, with our sound intact, with the spirit of the band intact, but not applying the typical conventions when possible.”
For the first time ever, there’s a spotlight on Baroness’ powerhouse rhythm section – driving-and-spilling drummer Sebastian Thomson and jazz-honed bassist Nick Jost. Bustling with rhythmic complexity, the band occasionally swerves into highways of math rock, post-rock, krautrock and various strains of electronic music. In addition, the band has absorbed Gina Gleason, a gifted guitarist whose résumé includes playing with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas and jamming with both Smashing Pumpkins and Carlos Santana. Gleason’s voice harmonizes with Baizley and Jost, bringing new tone to the band.
“It’s great for me to have such a full-bodied trust in the other musicians in the band because they play at such a high level,” says Baizley. “I never, ever in a million years thought I’d play with musicians of that caliber and now I’m surrounded by them.”
Like Purple, the band recorded with prismatic, Grammy-winning producer Dave Fridmann at his Tarbox Studios. “There were so many split second decisions and just weird ideas that got used,” says Baizley. “I credit Dave for a lot of this because he was never one to say ‘No, that’s insane.’ It was like almost the more out there the idea, the more likely he was to encourage it to be developed and grown.”
“We went outside, in front of Dave’s studio, on one of his off days, we miked up a wooden post and hammered a nail into it,” says Baizley. “There’s so much hidden in there. There’s also some audio samples of some of my friends. I literally did the Pink Floyd thing. I set up a little booth in my basement. I said, go down there, you got five minutes, tell me the toughest thing you want to tell me. And boy, it was tough to listen to. I pulled those quotes, effected them and they popped into one of the tracks.”
Lyrically, Gold & Grey plumbs similar depths of emotion. On previous albums, Baizley has sung boldly and openly about his mental health and the recovery process from the traumatic bus accident the band and their crew suffered in 2012.
“Where Purple was me lyrically trying to work out how to adjust to a new normal, I think Gold & Grey is a more grown-up and more subtle collection of words that reflect how I am trying to deal with the longer term effects of having experienced so many terrible things,” says Baizley. “There’s a mental component. There’s a physical component. I choose to use the band as a place where I can take all of this stress, pain, anxiety, all these realities, and make them something good.”
Nearly 15 years since releasing their first EP, Baroness are finding a way forward by reveling in chaos.
“We’d listen to playback and there was a general sense of confusion,” says Baizley of the Gold & Grey sessions. I couldn’t figure out how Gina was making that sound. I didn’t understand how the rhythm that Nick and Sebastian were playing worked with what I was doing – but it did. It was a really exciting to feel like we were maybe on the edge of just falling apart. We didn’t want to know what was going on. We wanted to be always a little bit surprised by ourselves.”
Post-genre art and music visionary Poppy has quickly risen to center-stage as an unassuming paragon of high culture, high fashion and high art. Embodying “alternative” in the truest sense of the word, she bleeds the boundaries between pop, progressive, and electronic underpinned by unpredictable time signatures shifts and heavy edge on her third full-length and debut for Sumerian Records, I Disagree.
I Disagree was a decisive document of her progression from internet phenomenon to musician of unparalleled aplomb, yielding critical acclaim in the form of cover stories for NME, Revolver, Kerrang!, Upset, TUSH and inclusion on several best of 2020 lists , as well as a GRAMMY nomination for Best Metal Performance , making her the first solo female artist ever nominated in the category.
Poppy premiered the title track from EAT in an iconic performance for the GRAMMYs that left fans begging for more until the EP’s surprise release as part of a major televised event in partnership with WWE.
She followed the EAT EP with the single Her to much acclaim for both the song and its innovative music video. Flux came next, accompanied by its own imaginative video directed by Poppy and the announcement of a new album of the same name. So Mean followed with an additional self-directed video – ahead of the full album drop on September 24, 2021.
Outside of music, Poppy also became the face of Viktor and Rolf’s blockbuster fragrance Flowerbomb with L’Oreal and recently launched 2 pairs of signature shoes in collaboration with KOI Footwear. She has also released two graphic novels, Genesis One & Poppy’s Inferno and her short film, I’m Poppy premiered at the 2019 Sundance Festival.
First impressions last a lifetime. Wolfgang Van Halen has prepared a lifetime to make his first impression. The songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist worked tirelessly towards the introduction of MAMMOTH , his self-titled 2021 debut album. Playing every instrument and singing each and every note, his music presents a personal and powerful perspective, balancing memorable hooks and tight technicality. As many times as audiences have experienced his talent alongside the likes of Tremonti, Clint Lowery, and of course, Van Halen, they meet Wolf as an individual for the very first time now.
“You only have one chance to make a first impression, and I wanted to do so to the best of my abilities,” he affirms. “Throughout the whole process, I was finding who I am musically and by the end, I got a pretty good handle on a sound I can claim for myself.”
His father often played guitar against his mother’s pregnant belly, and Wolf absorbed those vibrations from the womb. At the age of 10, his Pop gave him a drum kit for his birthday. To this day, Wolf considers himself “a drummer before anything else.” As he developed as a musician, he learned how to play guitar in order to perform “316” — which his father penned for him — at a 6th-grade talent show.
It may come as a surprise, but outside of his father teaching him one drumbeat from an AC/DC song, Wolfgang taught himself every instrument. “My dad wasn’t the best teacher,” he laughs. “I would ask him to play something, and then he would just proceed to be Eddie Van Halen. He would look at me and say, ‘Do that.’ to which I would laugh and sarcastically reply, ‘Sure thing, no problem.’”
In the summer of 2006 when he was 15 years old, Wolf grabbed a bass and began noodling. While at the legendary 5150 Studios, his impromptu woodshedding inspired Eddie and Uncle Alex. Endless family jam sessions followed. By summer’s end, Wolfgang phoned David Lee Roth’s manager and by winter Roth showed up for rehearsal. They rocked “On Fire,” and “That’s how the 2007 tour began,” says Wolf.
Not only did Wolf canvas the world with Van Halen while in high school, but he also held down the low end on 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth—which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200. When not on tour with Van Halen, he cut bass for Tremonti’s critically acclaimed Cauterize and Dust in addition to joining the band on the road. In 2019, Wolf handled drums and also played bass on half of the 10 songs for Clint Lowery’s solo debut, God Bless The Renegades.
In the midst of all this, at the beginning of 2015, Wolf broke ground on what would become MAMMOTH with producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette behind the board. Wolf began to embrace his voice, inspired by everyone from his father, to bands like AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, TOOL, and Jimmy Eat World. “I’ve been singing my whole life, but it wasn’t until MAMMOTH that I really found my voice. Elvis was great, and he helped me gain the confidence to become a lead vocalist.”
“The name Mammoth is really special to me.” says Wolf. “Not only was it the name of Van Halen before it became Van Halen, but my father was also the lead singer. Ever since my dad told me this, I always thought that when I grew up, I’d call my own band Mammoth, because I loved the name so much. I’m so thankful that my father was able to listen to, and enjoy the music I made. I’m really proud of the work I’ve done and nothing made me happier than seeing how proud he was that I was continuing the family legacy.”
At this point, IN FLAMES are less of a band than they are a musical institution in the heavy music world. Since helping create Sweden’s legendary “Gothenburg Sound” three decades ago to their current status as melodic metal monoliths, the act have constantly eschewed trends in order to forge their own musical path. This is evident on their 13th full-length »I, The Mask«, which sees them reuniting with multi Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson , who also produced 2016’s »Battles«, in order to further redefine their sound. “I think it’s very difficult for IN FLAMES to be something we’re not and that dichotomy of melody and aggression will always be at the core of our identity,” vocalist Anders Fridén explains from a tour stop opening for DEEP PURPLE in Mexico. “We are always open to new ideas and don’t let anything limit us,” guitarist Björn Gelotte adds. “We just ask ourselves if we will love playing this stuff live… and as long as we feel that, nothing can really touch us.”
Unlike previous recordings, this time around Fridén and Gelotte holed up in Los Angeles for three weeks prior to the production of »I, The Mask« and came up with a bulk of the songs during those sessions. “For »Battles« I wrote a lot of the material at home first but for this one, Anders and I really wanted to just get in a room together and see where it would take us,” Gelotte explains, adding that Benson would frequently drop by and act as a filter for their creativity. “I think this process worked really well because a lot of the lyrics fed off the music or Anders would come up with a really powerful line and it would inspire a riff, so there was a lot of symbiosis between us in the songwriting.” From there the duo fleshed out the arrangements with guitarist Niclas Engelin, bassist Bryce Paul Newman and previous drummer Joe Rickard and then spent two months tracking the songs. House.’) Finally, the album was mixed by Chris Lord-Alge, who has worked with everyone from CHEAP TRICK to LINKIN PARK and mastered by Ted Jensen .
The result is a massive-sounding album that showcases why IN FLAMES are one of the biggest metal bands in the world. From the way acoustic guitars give way to to anthemic riffing on the power ballad ‘Call My Name’ to the relentless riffing on ‘Burn’ and sweetly syncopated groove of ‘I Am Above,’ »I, The Mask« sees the band stretching out musically and crafting music that’s as catchy as it is crushing. As the driving force behind the act, it was important for Fridén to challenge himself on the album and take vocal lessons three days a week in order to expand his own arsenal of abilities. “I wanted to do something new and take things to another level when it came to the vocals,” he explains. “I know what I’m capable of and I feel more confident today taking higher notes and being able to push my voice in a higher register, so that’s something I really wanted to explore as well.”
Lyrically, »I, The Mask« is in many ways a social commentary on the state of the world when it comes to isolation, loneliness and the way technology has subverted our need for genuine human connection. “Instead of being connected we divide ourselves into all of these little groups and if you scratch the surface most people’s lives are miserable,” Fridén explains. “I thought about that and how we all carry a mask around and how in our striving to become better, I think we’re actually going backwards.” However there is also a level of hopefulness that’s inherent in the sentiment of »I, The Mask«, which is showcased in songs like ‘ House.’ “That song is a call to arms and it’s saying, ‘We need to unite because we’re going in the wrong direction,’” he explains. “We might have ten years to stop the pollution of the planet. We aren’t going to die on the 11th year but we can’t turn it back from that and it’s a slow process of rebuilding our house, so I think it’s a strong lyrical theme and one that is unifying as well.”
Admittedly if you listen to 1996’s »The Jester Race« next to »I, The Mask«, there are marked musical differences, but through the course of IN FLAMES’ output you can trace their evolution and hear how they managed to remain relevant by never getting complacent. “The way we write music is super challenging but it’s also super rewarding,” Gelotte explains, adding that as the band have improved as musicians it’s opened up countless sonic and creative possibilities. “We’ve never been the type of band who likes to show-off but we like to have fun making music and working with Howard was one of the first times where we actually listened to someone from the outside – and I think it was his first time working with a band like us, too,” he adds. “The instrumentation on the album is pretty straight-forward on this album, but there are so many layers in a lot of these songs that if you’re interested you can really dig into it and it will live on for a long time.”
That said, ultimately IN FLAMES are a live band and they can’t wait to get back on the road and share this new collection of songs with fans, whether they’ve supported the band for decades or are recent converts to their sound. “I love the act of creating something from nothing and then getting to travel the world and play these songs and see how they affect people,” Fridén summarizes. “It’s extremely rewarding to hear how a certain song moves someone and then you talk to someone else and learn that it affected them in a profoundly different way. The dynamic between the creator and the fans and what they bring to the table is such an amazing feeling, so that’s a big part of our drive. To make something and share it with the world, that’s what we were meant to do.”
Some musicians take a while to build an audience and connect with fans. For the Los Angeles-based quartet Dirty Honey, success came right out of the gate. Released in March 2019, the band’s debut single, “When I’m Gone,” became the first song by an unsigned artist to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart. Their second single, “Rolling 7s,” went into the Top 5 and was still headed up when COVID changed everything. That same year, Dirty Honey opened for The Who, Guns ’N Roses, Slash, and Alter Bridge and was the “do-not-miss-band” at major rock festivals such as Welcome to Rockville, Rocklahoma, Louder Than Life, Heavy MTL, and Epicenter. On its first U.S. headline tour in January and February 2020, the band sold out every date.
When it came time to record its self-titled full-length debut album, the band—vocalist Marc LaBelle, guitarist John Notto, bassist Justin Smolian, and drummer Corey Coverstone—wasn’t about to mess with what was already working. Teaming up with producer Nick DiDia , who also produced the band’s 2019 self-titled EP, Dirty Honey again captured the lightning-in-a-bottle dynamics and energy of their live sound.
“As a guitarist, I’m always inspired by the everlasting pursuit of the perfect riff,” says Notto. “I also wanted to extend the artistic statement that we had already made. We weren’t looking to sound different, or prove our growth, necessarily. It was more about, ‘Oh, you thought that was good? Hold my beer.’”
“Because of the pandemic,” added drummer Coverstone, “we had a lot more time to write and prepare, which was great.  It meant that we were able to workshop the songs a lot more, and I think it really made a difference.”
Dirty Honey’s album indeed builds on the band’s output to date, with airtight songwriting that plays up their strengths: sexy, bluesy, nasty rock’n’roll, melodic hard rock, and soulful 70s blues-rock. On “The Wire,” LaBelle reaffirms his status as one of contemporary rock’s best vocalists, while “Another Last Time” is a raunchy, timeless ballad about a toxic relationship that you just can’t stop saying goodbye to.  “Tied Up” and the album’s lead single “California Dreamin,’’ both feature smoking guitar solos bookended by massive riffs and hooks.
“‘California Dreaming’ was the last song we wrote,” said bassist Justin Smolian.  “We finished it about two weeks before we recorded it, so the song was still so new, and we were trying out different things, so every take was a little different.  But there was that one where we just captured it, and it was magic.”
Although each band member started playing music as kids—at the age of eight, Notto’s parents even bought him a red-and-white Stratocaster—each one brings eclectic influences to Dirty Honey’s sound. For example, drummer Coverstone has studied with jazz and L.A. session drummers but loves heavy metal; Notto grew up listening to ’70s funk and R&B as well as rock ‘n’ roll, and bassist Smolian has a bachelor of music in classical guitar and loves Tom Petty and The Beach Boys.
LaBelle meanwhile, takes cues from his songwriting idols when coming up with lyrics. As a result, the songs on the Dirty Honey album hint at life’s ebbs and flows—shattering heartbreak, romantic connection, intense soul-searching—while giving listeners space to draw their own conclusions.
“Sometimes, if you just let lyrics pass behind your ears, they sound like cool shit is being said,” LaBelle says. “And then once you dive in, you realize, ‘Oh, that’s really thoughtful.’ But it still doesn’t have a meaning that’s easy to pinpoint. There’s an overarching idea that is really cool, but it’s not necessarily on-the-nose.”
Although the Dirty Honey album may sound effortless, its genesis had a bumpy start. The day before the band members were due to fly to Australia to track the album, Los Angeles entered lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and traveling was off the table. However, Dirty Honey was still eager to work with DiDia, so they devised a Plan B: recording the full-length in a Los Angeles studio with one of DiDia’s long-time engineers, and the producer beamed into the proceedings via the magic of modern technology.
“He was able to listen to what we were laying down in real-time, through this app,” says LaBelle. It was like he was in the room with us. It was surprisingly seamless the way it all went down.”
Having to switch gears delayed the start of recording slightly, although this extra time ended up being a boon. Dirty Honey rented a rehearsal space and demoed the album’s songs in advance, meaning the tracks were in good shape when DiDia came onboard. Notto mixed and recorded these workshopped tracks himself, which helped him rediscover one of Dirty Honey’s biggest strengths: being well-rehearsed while not over polishing their work.
“I’ve learned just a little bit more about what people might mean when they say, magic—you know, ‘This one has the magic,’” he says. “We would do two and three different demos of a song, so there would be a few versions. On a few occasions, the version that people kept going back to was the sloppiest, if you look at it from a performance standpoint.”
LaBelle agrees. “It’s just about getting the performance right and not thinking about it too much. I never like to be perfect in the studio. None of the stuff that I really liked as a kid was. I don’t really see myself getting away from that too much in the future just because I think you lose the soul if you do it too many times, if it’s too perfect.”
Notto also admits that the creative process isn’t necessarily always all fun and games. But for him and the rest of Dirty Honey, pushing through those tough times and coming out stronger on the other side is worth it. “When you finally come through on those moments, that’s where the real magic comes in,” he says. “What makes all of our songs fun to play and listen to is we don’t allow ourselves to stop short of getting the best possible results out of each one of them.”
The HU is a band from Mongolia that blends heavy metal and traditional Mongolian throat singing.  Their first two videos  immediately went viral garnering the band over 100 million views.  The explosive reaction to The HU resulted in a number of features about the band in international media such as NPR, ET India Times, Playboy Mexico, Jack Canal Fr, Hong Kong 01, DW News Germany and others.
The band’s name The HU, is the Mongolian root word for human being.  They call their style “Hunnu Rock”…inspired by the Hunnu, an ancient Mongolian empire, known as The Huns in western culture. Some of the band’s lyrics include old Mongolian war cries and poetry.
Founded in 2016 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia by their producer Dashka, along with the members Gala, Jaya, Temka, and Enkush. The HU combines Rock Music with traditional Mongolian instrumentation like the Morin Khuur , Tovshuur , Tumur Khuur , guttural throating singing and the bombastic bass and drums of rock.  All four members have earned Bachelor’s or higher degrees in music and have several years of touring experience throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim.
Since the formation of the band, they’ve been working on their first album, The Gereg.  The word Gereg was used as the first Diplomatic “Passport” by the Mongol empire during the time of Genghis Khan. The album contains nine songs including viral hits “Yuve Yuve Yu” and “Wolf Totem”, and was released on September 13, 2019 via Better Noise Music .
Expectations never mattered to Bad Wolves. Instead, the Los Angeles band fused unpredictable metallic intensity and impressive instrumental proficiency to arena-ready hooks, transforming from underdogs into elite platinum-certified hard rock contenders without compromise or apology. Since 2017, the core group—John Boecklin , Doc Coyle , Chris Cain , and Kyle Konkiel —have consistently subverted expectations and accomplished the seemingly impossible. In 2018, the band earned a platinum plaque, topped iTunes, and ruled Active Rock at #1 for three weeks straight. This momentum also propelled their debut album, Disobey, to a Top 25 debut on the Billboard Top 200. In between performing to sold out audiences on multiple continents with heavyweights such as Five Finger Death Punch and Megadeth, 2019’s N.A.T.I.O.N. yielded their fifth straight #1 at Active Rock, “Sober,” and brought their total stream tally past the half-billion mark— unprecedented for a modern rock band. Not to mention, LoudWire hailed it among the “50 Best Rock Albums of 2019” as Billboard and Consequence of Sound chronicled their rise. In the midst of 2021, Bad Wolves welcomed Daniel “DL” Laskiewicz—previously of The Acacia Strain—as lead vocalist, ushering in a new chapter with their third full-length offering, Dear Monsters, , led by the single “Lifeline.
Under any and all circumstances, brothers depend on each other. Maintaining an unspoken, yet unbreakable bond for nearly three decades, Sevendust draw strength from one another on their thirteenth full-length and second release for Rise Records, Blood & Stone. The GRAMMY® Award-nominated Atlanta quintet—Lajon Witherspoon , Clint Lowery , John Connolly , Vince Hornsby , and Morgan Rose —weather anything the world throws at them as a unit.
Not only do they stand strong together, but they also come out swinging as a raw, real, and relevant force.
“At this point, we’ve gone through all of the shit you can imagine,” Morgan remarks. “We’ve been beaten down to the ground, left on the verge of bankruptcy, and robbed blind by people who were supposed to be taking care of us. We’ve dealt with divorces and addiction. However, music has been our way of leaning on each other through all of it. We find a way to work through everything. This band means more to me now than it ever did, because we built something really special and still put on a show worthy of being in the game.”
“This is a bunch of guys who share a mutual respect and love,” adds Lajon. “We grew up together. When we go in and write, it’s a cool and magical experience. It was relevant then; it’s relevant now. We always consider our fans family. Hopefully, Blood & Stone helps them.”
Sevendust built a legacy out of records and stages left soaked in blood, sweat, and tears. Since their formation in 1994, they delivered three classic gold-certified albums—Sevendust , Home , and Animosity —and sold upwards of three million records worldwide. Seasons , Cold Day Memory , and Kill The Flaw each bowed in the Top 15 of the Billboard Top 200. The latter’s lead single “Thank You” received a nomination in the category of “Best Metal Performance” at the 2016 GRAMMY® Awards, representing a career first. Along the way, they sold out countless shows around the globe and lit up iconic festivals such as Sonic Temple, Woodstock, OZZfest, and Shiprocked! 2018’s All I See Is War earned some of the best reviews of the group’s career as Associated Press claimed, “The band does what it wants and deserves as many ears as possible.” Energized by a particularly prolific period, Sevendust reconvened at Studio Barbarosa with Michael “Elvis” Baskette during late 2019. Fresh from All I See Is War and respective solo outings, Clint and John literally fired on all cylinders.
“John had just done a bunch of writing for Projected, and Clint had just recorded his solo album, so they were both in writing mode,” recalls Morgan. “The riffs were developed. It had already started to take shape very early. With those guys being so prepared, the writing was seamless. Instead of getting tapped out, they got even better.”
Sevendust throw a curveball by introducing Blood & Stone to the world with a haunting, hypnotic, and hard-hitting cover of Soundgarden’s “The Day I Tried To Live.” It preserves the spirit of the original while bringing a sense of stark soul.
“I have no idea why in the fuck we tried to bite that one off,” laughs Morgan. “Chris Cornell is arguably the greatest singer of many generations, and we’re all big fans. Overall, we did our homework and stayed close to the original, but Lajon killed it.”
“Clint and I actually went to see Soundgarden right when Sevendust was starting as a band,” recalls Lajon. “It was an experience I’ll never forget. Chris Cornell had a fearless energy live. It was just incredible. They’re an inspiration to all of us and people everywhere. I came in with a humble heart and just did what I do.”
Meanwhile, the album opener and single “Dying To Live” tosses and turns between crushing distortion and harmonic squeals before Lajon carries one of the band’s catchiest choruses to date. Tight grooves give way to whispers on the bridge before screams take hold again.
“It’s one of those heavy-hitters,” grins Lajon. “With what’s been going on in the world, it’s a song that really punches.”
“‘Dying To Live’ has everything the band embodies,” adds Morgan. “There are songs like ‘Denial’ we all agreed on. ‘Dying To Live’ is another one. It’s exactly what we’re about and might be the most profound tune we’ve come up with in a long time. There are hooks all over it!”
Clean guitar slips into a head-spinning bounce on “Blood From A Stone.” The track subsides on a sweeping refrain, “Sorry for the things that I have done. You took it from me like blood from a stone.”
“It’s any relationship where the other person wants to suck every drop out of you,” Morgan continues. “It’s something everyone has been through.”
Elsewhere, an airy guitar lead resounds as “Criminal” runs towards a striking vocal run culminating on a question, “Who’s our hero now if I’m so criminal?” From the bludgeoning “Love” to the delicate delivery of “Kill Me,” Blood & Stone highlights the scope of Sevendust’s signature style. “Wish You Well” leaves off on a unified statement, “We pull together through the worst.”
“We wanted to end with something powerful,” affirms Lajon. “It felt like the perfect conclusion.”
In the end, the brotherhood at the heart of Sevendust burns brightly.
“When we do anything, it’s real, and it’s from the heart,” Lajon leaves off. “We mean every word we write. I can’t wait for the Sevendust family to hear Blood & Stone. I hope it opens more doors. I never take this journey for granted. I can’t wait for what’s next.”
“We have the most loyal base of supporters I’ve ever seen,” Morgan concludes. “They’ve been here for so long. We delivered a solid record. We’re a blue-collar band, and we’re going to grind it all the way out. I know our loyalty will keep us where we are.” — Rick Florino, June 2020
Alexisonfire rose up out of the Southern Ontario underground indie scene in late 2001. It wasn’t long before they were touring the world spreading their brand of rock n roll across all borders. The band released four hugely successful and critically acclaimed studio albums, all certified Platinum in their native country, Canada: Alexisonfire , Watch Out! , Crisis , and Old Crows/Young Cardinals . Crisis debuted at #1 on the Top 200 Soundscan , and Old Crows/Young Cardinals debuted at #2, and charted at #9 on the US Billboard Independent Album chart.
The band has topped charts and garnered press praise from Alternative Press, Loudwire, Brooklyn Vegan, Exclaim!, Kerrang!, Revolver, RockSound, and many more. Alexisonfire sold-out their 10 Year Anniversary tour which touched down on four continents in 24 days further to this, following the release of “Familiar Drugs” , their first single in 10 years, they played to sold out crowds for two night stays in Los Angeles, New York, London and Toronto, illustrating how meaningful the band still is to their legion of fans worldwide. The band also has the distinction of being one of a handful of Canadian artists to perform two consecutive sold-out nights at the iconic Toronto venue Budweiser Stage alongside City and Colour, Drake, The Tragically Hip, Daniel Caesar and Sarah McLachlan.
The band still generated half-a-million streams per month, even during inactive periods, further proving the dedication of the fanbase.
“Spiritbox is where serene art-rock and metal savagery meet.” – Loudwire
The existential dread of isolation and the wondrous alchemy of artisans, ensconced in a self-imposed enclave of creativity, have converged in the music of SPIRITBOX. Part post-metal band, part art collective, SPIRITBOX makes magic in the musical and visual mediums, evoking spirits like that other type of “medium.” Not unlike the arcane occult technology of their namesake, SPIRITBOX communes with people all around the world, via broad emotional outbursts of sound.
Conjuring spirits through music and video as do-it-yourself artists from their remote place of worship, the burgeoning arts community of Vancouver Island, the husband and wife duo of Courtney LaPlante and Mike Stringer inspired a cult following from their first emergence in 2017. It wasn’t long before bassist Bill Crook was baptized into the fold, expanding the outfit to a trio.
A self-titled EP introduced SPIRITBOX to the world, enchanting an even broader spectrum of the esoteric minded sort. Singles Collection, the five-song set that followed in 2019, documents LaPlante’s struggle with depression, while emphasizing the band’s genre-transcending musical prowess. From melancholy to madness, from hopelessness to redemption, SPIRITBOX is a complete extension of its creators. As Revolver Magazine pointed out in a glowing profile, the band’s 2020 breakout single, “Holy Roller,” is both “insanely catchy and totally crushing.” Most strikingly perhaps, like everything SPIRITBOX, “Holy Roller” was fashioned free from compromise.
There is nothing pandering or remotely insincere about this band. That authenticity is what attracts its religiously devoted adherents, an ever-growing “denomination” of diverse people. The obsessive nature of the burgeoning fandom is a testament to the immersive quality of SPIRITBOX. As the ghostly phrase from the late ‘80s baseball movie goes, “If you build it, they will come.”
With unflinching tenacity, the impenetrable heavy metal hardcore factory that is HATEBREED has brought forth yet another iron cast, sonic weapon with Weight Of The False Self. It comes as no surprise that their eighth, full length album is the result of the usual sweat and blood that have cemented HATEBREED’s unique niche in the world of music for over two decades. Renowned for their ability to provide an intense and catharAc release for their fans, HATEBREED challenged their wriAng style through this album cycle in order to produce material that is excepAonally relatable in a contemporary world flooded with oversAmulaAon, emoAonal dampening, and lack of social paAence. “Weight Of The False Self’ is a perfect [email protected] of HATEBREED in 2020, a fresh onslaught of soon to be classics with all the elements that led you here since day one,” explains guitarist Frank Novinec.
A metaphorical weight is carried by almost every individual in regards to their emoAonal construct. Our experiences shape who we become and over Ame, gradually produce a heavy burden that we conAnue to lug along. For many of us, the weight becomes so much that we struggle to get out from underneath, let alone move. It is these struggles that are translated throughout Weight Of The False Self.
“Seen or unseen, everyone is carrying a burden. The music we love helps us bear the weight” proclaims vocalist Jamey Jasta. Tracks like “Cling To Life” supply a play on words that usually mean to desperately cling to those last breaths, but here, these words display that in the wake of true loss and mourning, to cling to the idea of happiness and future can bring sincere relief. On the other end of the philosophical spectrum, the first single “InsCncCve ” not only presents a fresh vocabulary word, but screams about the power that comes from our defense mechanisms when backed into a corner. When someone is being pursued by their past, another person, or just defending their own territory, it’s only a maUer of Ame and distance before they can explode into a savage, primal beast. “It should be illegal to make a song this heavy,” describes bassist Chris BeaHe.
The song “Wings Of The Vulture” is a metaphor for all the negaAve forces of nature, fate, and humanity that hope to prey upon us during some of our weakest moments; waiAng for the death of something meaningful. “A Stroke Of Red,” contrary to what it may seem at first, touches on the concept of having the choice to harm yourself or others. “It’s an eye for an eye, but that leaves everyone blind. Once you go down that dark, violent path, there is no turning back. This song is a dark canvas; leaving my body to exact terrible things on a different plane, and coming back to myself in order to learn from it so that you don’t ever give in to that dark, carnal desire,” explains Jasta.
Album artwork by renowned heavy metal arAst Eliran Kantor depicts a man chiseling away at the massive sculpture of a stone bust. In Kantor’s classic painAng style, cracking through the clay of turmoil and sadness, a light is beginning to shine through the rock as the sculptor turns his face from the blinding beams of healing. The image visually combines the album’s themes of emoAonal struggle and managing to overcome pain a^er layers of depression, anxiety, betrayal, and heartbreak have hardened atop a person’s soul.
Over the course of over 20 years and 8 albums, the wriAng process for a band like HATEBREED has stayed safe in its roots, but sAll reached out and grabbed for crisp and compelling pieces of progressive sound to add to the mix. There are waves of fresh sounds while the massive foundaAon that houses HATEBREED remains strongly held in place. “On this album I really pushed myself; made myself rewrite things [email protected] they were beKer, [email protected] it clicked. I pulled myself out of that comfort zone. In the age of legacy bands having to play so many hits from their catalogue at shows, we love to hear fans request new songs when we’re playing live,” explains Jasta, “we’ve really played into our strengths with this one.”
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“There’s no shortage of beefy-riffs and adrenaline-fueled-drums on this record. I’m proud to say that we will consistently provide a soundtrack to which you can mosh in your living room and destroy your apartment,” details drummer MaO Byrne.
Recording the album once more with the help of ZEUSS, the band experienced a sense of challenge and breakthrough that enabled them to obtain a new level of sound. A^er working with the band for several years, and while normally spending his Ame with bands that have a fairly different sound, Zeuss is able to test HATEBREED and expand their already infamous vibraAon. “It was really great working with Zeuss again on this one. Love the way the guitars sound,” comments guitarist Wayne Lozinak. As Ame goes on, the quality of producAon
technology only seems to get beUer and beUer, creaAng a safe and producAve nest in which albums can evolve and end up with a much cleaner sound; Weight Of The False Self brings early 2000’s era HATEBREED into the new decade.
Due to be released on November 27th, 2020 via Nuclear Blast Records, Weight Of The False Self will likely be noted as one of HATEBREED’s strongest, and most memorable albums.
For almost 30 years, John 5 has been one of the most in-demand guitar players on the planet. As well as a guitarist for hire, 5 has shared the stage as axe-man for Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Rob Halford. He has also worked with an impressive array of names, from all walks of music, including KD Lang, Rod Stewart, Dave Lee Roth, Alice Cooper, Tina Guo and Steven Adler.
To call John 5 a shredder does not do him justice. There’s little he can’t put his hand to.
John 5 was born John William Lowery, on July 31st 1970, in Gross Pointe Michigan. His love of guitar began at age seven, when he began watching the Hee Haw series with his father. “I watched the guitar playing and knew that was what I wanted to do. My friends wanted to be astronauts and such but all I wanted to do was play and play and play”. Other notable influences included KISS and Jimi Hendrix.
John 5’s solo career turned out not to be a flash in the pan, and he has now released 9 studio albums, a live album and a remix album . He has worked with several special guests on those albums, including Albert Lee who called John 5 “one of the nicest guys I’ve worked with“, Steve Vai who called John “underrated”, Joe Satriani, Jim Root, Eric Johnson and many more. As well as his solo albums John 5 teamed up with the vocal talents of Joe Grah to form “radio rock project” Loser. Their first single, ‘Disposable Sunshine’ featured on the Fantastic Four soundtrack.
In 2006, John 5 was invited to join Rob Zombie for a short Ozzfest tour. Despite being told “not to get too comfortable”, the pairing brought a resurgence in Zombie, who at the point was turning his hand to directing movies and taking a break from music, they began work on 2006’s ‘Educated Horses’. As a consequence John 5 had to make the decision to leave his fledgling band Loser. “Being the founding member of Loser, my decision to leave was not an easy one.”
In 2015, following a series of web shows to celebrate the release of his solo album ‘Careful With That Axe”, John 5 decided to take his solo set on tour, and formed The Creatures band to support his live shows. Initially joined by long-term friend Rodger Carter on drums, the band continues touring to this day, and now work as a unit on 5’s solo albums, including ‘Season Of The Witch’, the live album ‘It’s Alive’ and 2019’s ‘Invasion’. The current line-up includes John 5, Ian Ross on bass and drummer Logan Miles Nix.
Although John 5 does less “hired gun” work, he has contributed to work with Lynryd Skynrd, Meatloaf, Ricky Martin, Rod Stewart, Motley Crue and Rod Stewart.
“I’m busy, constantly busy with work but I look at who I am in the studio with or sending music to and I think  I don’t ever want it to stop.”
For London-bred band BONES UK, every song is a chance to speak their minds with total freedom, to shed light on the extreme disconnect between the status quo and the far more glorious world inside their heads. On their self-titled debut album, out now via Sumerian Records, vocalist Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg confront everything from the beauty industrial complex to toxic masculinity to music-scene sexism, embedding each track with choruses primed for passionate shouting-along. With their galvanizing energy and relentless joie de vivre, BONES UK offer up an album that’s both provocative and endlessly exhilarating, even in its most outraged moments.
True to the L.A.-based band’s anti-conformist spirit, BONES UK unfolds with an entirely uncontainable sound, a riff-heavy collision of rock-and-roll and rough-edged electronic music. In forging that sound, Rosie and Carmen worked in close collaboration with producer Filippo Cimatti, who shaped the album’s kinetic textures with lavish use of electronic bass. Matched by Carmen’s masterful yet inventive guitar work and Rosie’s magnetic voice—an instrument that seamlessly slips from menacing to stunningly tender—the result is a bold new sonic world, savage and frenetic and infinitely mesmerizing.
On the album-opening “Beautiful Is Boring,” BONES UK bring serpentine riffs and sinister grooves to a feverish statement against societal expectations of beauty. “We’re living in an era when everyone’s being airbrushed into looking all the same, when really it’s imperfections that make you beautiful,” says Rosie. On “Filthy Freaks,” the band twists the narrative to an all-out celebration of the perfectly imperfect, the song’s bright tempo and surf-rock rhythms backed by Rosie’s brazen lyrics .
Raw defiance also fuels tracks like “Pretty Waste”—a dizzying anti-anthem driven by blistering beats and Rosie’s haunting vocal delivery. “It’s about this idea that if you’re a girl, you can’t be both attractive and smart,” Rosie says. “We wanted to show that you can be feminine and strong and tough and angry all at the same time: you can be whatever you want to be.” Another moment of brilliant fury, “Leach” lashes out against all the creeps BONES UK have encountered in their wanderings around L.A., cleverly contrasting their venomous lyrics with swinging rhythms and flamenco-inspired strumming. And on “I’m Afraid of Americans,” BONES UK bring that sardonic mood to a divinely snarling cover of David Bowie’s late-’90s hit, instilling the track with a wild new urgency.
Elsewhere on the album, BONES UK shift from the restless reverie of “Souls” to the dreamy balladry of “Black Blood” to the swampy blues of “Girls Can’t Play Guitar,” echoing the deliberate unpredictability of the album-making process. “We recorded everywhere—in bathrooms, in the backs of cars,” says Rosie, noting that most of Bones came to life in their basement studio in Laurel Canyon. “We’re together all the time and we love that freedom of being able to record whenever we want. We don’t need that pressure of going into some big studio; we’d much rather just be instinctive about it.”
All throughout their thrilling debut the band shows the sharpness of their instincts, an element that each musician has spent her whole life honing. Growing up in Italy, Carmen began playing violin at age five, but soon felt compelled to take up guitar. “My dad played me a VHS of Woodstock, and when I saw Jimi Hendrix I just went, That’s what I wanna do,” she recalls. Classically trained in guitar from age six, she later ventured into blues and rock, eventually crossing paths with Rosie after playing a 2014 gig at a blues bar in Camden. “I went up to her afterward and we drank several bottles of whiskey, and we pretty much started playing together right away,” says Rosie. Born and raised in London, Rosie had gotten her start as a drummer but switched to guitar as a tool for her songwriting. “It’s always been all about the lyrics for me—using songs to tell stories and paint a picture, in a way that actually says something about the world,” she notes.
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After recruiting Filippo , BONES UK began pushing toward the heady complexity that now defines their music. “We all come from such different backgrounds, and BONES UK is the amalgamation of that,” says Carmen. “When we realized what we could create together, it was like we didn’t have a choice—we had to just keep going.” Moving to L.A. in 2017, the band made their name as an incendiary live act, soon taking the stage at major festivals like Lollapalooza and touring with bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Bush, and The Cult.
Joined onstage by their drummer Heavy, BONES UK now see their live set as the ideal medium for their ever-expanding message, a vehicle for both catharsis and transformation. “Music is the most powerful platform you could possibly have, because it has the potential to move people in so many ways,” says Rosie. “We feel like we have a duty to use our platform to talk about the things we care about, and hopefully end up empowering and inspiring people, and help give them the confidence to be who they really are.”
“Witnessing live is as memorable as the album.”
“Poignant… set against an electro-punk backdrop, the track addresses shutting down negativity.”
“Shower after watching BONES UK’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” video… their cover of the David Bowie song gets a muddy 2019 revamp.”
“Like the greats before her, finds inventive, magical sweet spots that become her voice. No one can teach that, so a listen is worth it to hear that intangible quality alone.”
Fierce individuality and a fearless embrace of the outsider are at the heart of TETRARCH, the tenacious powerhouse equally defined by metallic power and melodic hooks. Seamlessly blending technical chops and aggressive ferocity with menacing groove and massive choruses, TETRARCH obliterate the barriers between shred and swing, across a series of independent EPs and two blistering full-length albums. TETRARCH anthems like “I’m Not Right,” “Pull the Trigger,” “Oddity,” and “Freak” emphasize the brightest of hard rock’s future with a respectful nod to its past.
Vocalist and guitarist Josh Fore, lead guitarist Diamond Rowe, bassist Ryan Lerner, and drummer Ruben Limas first came together in the American South, before leaving Atlanta, Georgia behind for the hessian hotbed of Los Angeles. TETRARCH’s expanding songbook has made them beloved by both Guitar Player and Revolver; by NAMM attending musicians and SiriusXM radio listeners; uniting open-minded fans across the heavy music spectrum while sharing stages with the likes of Avenged Sevenfold and Korn, and appealing to devotees of Linkin Park, Slipknot, and Trivium.
Punishing heaviness is the very foundation throughout everything they do. The band combines the wide-reaching accessibility of hard rock’s most commercially successful acts with the frantic dexterity of thrash-n-groove “cred” merchants, all without losing their own musical identity. TETRARCH have made believers out of diehards who worship everything from Mudvayne to Gojira.
Rowe became the first African American female lead guitarist from the heavy metal genre to be featured in major guitar publications, including Guitar World, Guitar Player, and Premiere Guitar. As Guitar World wrote, “The songs on Freak are built to bludgeon. Between its mix of concrete-heavy beats and lead guitarist Diamond Rowe’s armor-piercing thrash leads, none of us are safe.”
As Guitar Girl Magazine declared in a glowing profile of “talented shredder and critical darling” Rowe, TETRARCH “is poised to become one of the biggest bands in contemporary metal.”
Verminous is The Black Dahlia Murder’s most dynamic, rousing and emotional release to date, and it achieves this without compromising one iota of heaviness. “I think this is the biggest evolutionary leap we’ve ever taken from one album to the next. We stoked the creative fires with 2017’s Nightbringers and it’s gone much further now in Verminous,” states vocalist Trevor Strnad. “It’s a very colorful, moody, and charismatic album that experiments with new sounds and ideas without losing the cutthroat Black Dahlia edge. There is a lot of minutiae to digest. Plenty of delicious little easter eggs woven into the fabric of each song. Each one is a living, breathing entity that will stand on its own as some of the best music this band has ever created.”
That this is a new phase for The Black Dahlia Murder is apparent as the compellingly filthy opening title track rumbles to life, and the album remains gripping for each of the nine tracks that follow. One of the most immediately evident evolutions is in how anthemic their ninth record is, the band inspiring fist-in-the-air responses, particularly in closing track “Dawn Of Rats”. “Verminous has got some really huge parts that I’m sure will resonate greatly with our fans. It was definitely intentional on our part – a band can only hope to write a song so good that it would be seen as an anthem.” Likewise, there is more melancholy on the record, particularly on “Removal Of The Oaken Stake” and “Sunless Empire”, adding another dimension to the band’s sound and expanding the dark sonic palette with which they paint, all of this coming naturally. “As usual, there was no discussion nor preemptive planning going into the album. We prefer to keep things completely organic and just let the music flow when the time is right. We just write what we write. I do however think it’s been an underlying goal for the last several years to make more diverse music. We want an album to feel like a wild ride. A journey from beginning to end that has peaks and valleys.”
When it came to titling the record, Strnad looked around at the scene he has helped nourish for two decades and found his inspiration. “We, members of our beloved and hidden world of the heavy metal underground teeming just below the surface, are the verminous. The rats and roaches looming in the cracks and crevices of this fallen world. We are the pariahs that the world of normality finds loathsome and obscene. We are the carriers of a plague of knowledge so vile that it could bring the unsuspecting mankind to its knees. 2019 Air Jordan 1 Mid SE “Lakers” White Purple Yellow For Sale Always the underdogs. Our love for this music and what it means to our lives is foolishly underestimated.” This ties into the lyrical themes that permeate the record, though not exclusively, Strnad not struggling to find subject matter that engaged him. “The outside world of religion-warped ‘normalcy’ is the opposing viewpoint. We are the ultimate antagonist to their archaic ways of thought, the dreamers of the nightmares that shake them to their very core. Although we are but lowly vermin to them, the unseen and underestimated, our numbers are millions strong. We cast aside their ways and prefer to take solace in the hidden realm of the underground where the dark fruits of free thought can be enjoyed. We are our own Gods. The responsibility of our actions is ours alone.” In his position, he is also able to both provide listeners with opportunities to exorcise compulsions toward exploring dark themes and find some personal release. “Not unlike the appeal of a horror movie, there is a curiously dark side in all of us that can enjoy the occasional gaze through the eyes of the all-powerful masked killer. I enjoy taking the listener on such a ride. There is a certain catharsis in putting myself into the heart of each character I create. Where I lack power in my life, I channel it in my creations.”
While the drums were recorded at The Pipeyard in Plymouth, Michigan by ex-bassist and longtime studio guru Ryan “Bart” Williams, the bulk of the album was recorded in New Jersey at guitarist Brandon Ellis’ home studio, the Shred Light District, then mixed by Tue Madsen and mastered by Alan Douches. Keeping the bulk of the process in house offered them a greater level of control over every facet of recording than on any previous release, enabling them to tweak and fine-tune all the small details right up until the point they sent it to Madsen in Denmark. “To say we were anal-retentive would be an understatement. Tue did an outstanding job. His mix is organic. Classic sounding. Not too slick. It’s got an old school ‘real life’ feel to it rather than being the overly polished quantized-to-hell drek that is coming out these days. We wanted the album’s sound to have its own personality, and he helped us achieve just that. Finally, Alan did a great job of smoothing out the final details with his mastering. He beefed it up into what you hear now.” The only other outside collaborators with which the band worked were soundscape artist Michael Ghelfi, who provided the sample that opens the record and “sets the pest-ridden vibe”, and Juanjo Castellano, who painted the cover. “It’s amazing and classically death metal cover artwork. I call it an evil underground sewer world, home to the verminous ones. If you look closely you can find all kinds of rats and bugs and critters scattered throughout. The amount of detail Juanjo put in there is second to none.”
As has been their MO since inception the band intend to tour the record hard, planning on being on the road with Verminous for the next two to three years, as long as the demand is there. Having had very successful tours with Whitechapel and Meshuggah on the Nightbringers cycle, as well as converting some newbies to the Black Dahlia cause while out with Black Label Society and Insomnium, they look forward to the challenge of playing the increasingly complex music in which they deal. “It’s like a drug, the challenge of it all. There is a masochistic thrill in performing this technically demanding music that you just can’t get anywhere else. We are a live band through and through. We live to destroy ourselves onstage every night. We give one hundred and ten percent every time and drain ourselves until there is nothing left to give. It’s a good pain and I wouldn’t do things any other way.”
Formed in their mate’s bong shed in Coolum, Queensland 2016 at age seventeen, The Chats represent everything that’s good about Australia and nothing that’s bad: a rebel spirit, gallows humour and the endless hedonistic pursuit of A Bloody Good Time. Cold stubbies within close reach, 24-7.
Starting in their music class while at St Theresa’s Catholic College in Noosaville, a suburb of Noosa, Queensland, two hours north of Brisbane, they began practicing in the shed in nearby Verrierdale during their final year of education . Their name meanwhile comes from the nearby suburb of Chatswood.
Drawing influence from the same fertile Australian pub rock scene that spawned everyone from AC/DC and The Saints to Cosmic Psychos and The Hard Ons, and sharing a similar singular self-contained approach to their art as such latter-day Aussie rock heroes as King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, The Chats describe themselves as “dropkick drongos from the Sunshine Coast of Australia”. It’d be difficult to argue otherwise.
Their dress-down image of mullets, shorts, sports tops, thongs or a sandals-and-socks combo, and cheap sunnies celebrates this fact. But don’t by mislead: The Chats are sharper than you think, and they write killer songs that hold their own in any era. Their self-titled debut EP was recorded in their school’s studio in 2016 and featured seven joyous
sky-punching tracks that combined 60s garage punk and 70s new wave punk . It was followed in 2017 by Get This In Ya, another thrilling seven song slice of economic,
stripped-down, early Buzzcocks-styles punk tension, whose lyrics read like a litany of things to hate for youthful malcontents the world over .
But where their forefathers cut their teeth on the spit-and-sawdust circuit of beer halls Down Under, The Chats bypassed years driving down dusty Outback roads when the lead single ‘Smoko’ became a 24-carat bona fide viral hit on Youtube. The Chats found themselves propelled from their Queensland shed to almost overnight renown in all the right circles.
Celebrating the great Aussie tradition of the cigarette break, an allotted smoking time protected by union law, and accompanied by a lo-fi video shot for no budget on a building site, ‘Smoko’ was a perfectly put together punk song protesting the drudgery of dole queue angst, minimum wage life and work-place hierarchies. Were they serious? wondered listeners / viewers. And, more importantly, who even cares? It didn’t matter: with its pared-down pop hooks, singer Eamon’s adolescent snarl and an unforgettable chorus,
‘Smoko’ was an instant classic of a youth anthem on a par with ‘You Really Got Me’, ‘My Generation’ or ‘Teenage Kicks’.
At the last count ‘Smoko’ has had more than 12 million views. Dave Grohl loved it so much he sent it to Josh Homme, who immediately booked the band to support Queens Of The Stone Age in Australia. Iggy Pop did the same when he played Melbourne, and keenly quizzed the band on their lyrical content. Idles were heard covering on the song on their recent Australian tour. At the time, singer Eamon was working at supermarket chain Coles. Adhering to the mantra ‘Business at the front, party at the back’ he currently maintains his mullet by trimming the front himself every couple of weeks, while his mum handles the rest of the tricky business. Drummer Matt, who was expelled from school for joyriding a golf buggy, is a professional skater.
In October 2018, The Chats brought their pub-punk to the UK, where all their shows sold out within a day and were immediately upgraded, including a memorable show at the Electric Ballroom, London, where they were joined onstage by Charlie Steen from Shame. Not bad considering the teenagers had never left Australia before. With two hundred gigs under their belts, The Chats began 2019 by signing a publishing deal with Universal Records and started their own label records, Bargain Bin Records
More music followed: single ‘Do What I Want’ and the glorious follow-up ‘Pub Feed’ (a paean to “above average” pub food, including
“chicken schnitty”, “parmigiana” and “rump steak – well done”) in 2019, a song that seems destined to take up residence in punk jukeboxes the world over. The Chats document the simple things in life, with songs that transcends language to tap straight into the youthful energy source. It’s a tricky artform that many attempt but at which few succeed. Still in their teens, The Chats have mastered it.
Mozart began composing at the age of four, but these boys were born singing anthems, and their debut album seems destined to be the greatest collection of music ever made, not only in Coolum, Queensland, but the entire universe. Every other musician should probably give up today.
New York City hardcore legends SICK OF IT ALL aren’t slowing down with age, the long-standing quartet are still pissed off, and the genre stalwarts still see many years ahead. SICK OF IT ALL remain a beacon of continuity, integrity, and resolve. That’s good news for SICK OF IT ALL fans and the hardcore scene. Since forming in 1986, SICK OF IT ALL have traveled the world many times over, played in front of hundreds of thousands, and released 11 acclaimed full-length albums, the latest of which is the riotous if anthemic Wake the Sleeping Dragon!. That SICK OF IT ALL continue to live by the standards in their original charter isn’t a matter of course, it’s part of their respective DNA. Hardcore is SICK OF IT ALL. “We’re a band that thrives from frustration,” says drummer Armand Majidi. “Aging seems to work well with our message, as opposed to a good-time band who sings about partying all night. There are so many horrible aspects of the world that become
more obvious to us year after year, which we didn’t see or understand before, which fuel our frustration every day. We’ve lived long enough now to see through the matrix, and thank goodness we have this band, so we can vent about it.”
And SICK OF IT ALL will voice, express, and declare their anger. As with pivotal albums Blood, Sweat and No Tears , Scratch the Surface , and The Last Act of Defiance , the New Yorkers aren’t afraid to cut the crap on Wake the Sleeping Dragon!. Written and arranged with friend and producer The Jerry Farley —a first—opener “Inner Vision,” “Hardcore Horseshoe,” and “The Snake ” retain SICK OF IT ALL’s signature sound but add melody, heaviness, and speed to the equation. Guest vocals by Tim McIlrath and Chuck Ragan add a new dynamic as well. Across Wake the Sleeping Dragon!’s 17 songs, SICK OF IT ALL have an album that observes tradition but has its eye on the future. “We didn’t shy away from stronger melodies on this album,” Majidi says. “So, there are some strikingly musical moments. Basically, we chose not to limit ourselves. The songs stand apart from each other by representing
many different musical styles that have influenced us.”
On Wake the Sleeping Dragon!, SICK OF IT ALL opted to change up the lyrical approach. While daily frustrations, political idiocy, war, power imbalances, and general inequality have long fueled SICK OF IT ALL’s no-bullshit lyrics—the album title Wake the Sleeping Dragon! refers to a protest mechanism—today they’re focusing on the bigger picture while also injecting a bit of levity into the songs. “On this record, we had a more open, communal, tongue-in-cheek approach to lyric writing,” says Majidi. “So many different topics were covered, some way more lighthearted than others. We’ve done ‘serious’ so often, that what might stand out most to people is how much fun we had with the lyrics. It’s always time for revolution, so that message is loud and clear on multiple songs, but we also sing about musical heroes like the Bad Brains , inner demons ’), our distaste of animal abuse , annoying narcissism on social media, friends we’ve lost, life on the road, impending wars for resources, as well as mosh pit patterns that can be linked to male pattern baldness. We’ve allowed ourselves greater lyrical freedom on this record for sure!”
For the cover, SICK OF IT ALL wanted it to tie directly into the lyrics. Designed by Ernie Parada from Hellgate Industries but inspired by Lou Koller and Parada’s ‘50s era monster movie poster idea, the cover to Wake the Sleeping Dragon! is striking in its use of yellows, oranges, reds, and black. That it also brings in SICK OF IT ALL’s Alleyway Dragon mascot captures not just the mind but part of the band’s history as well. “Lou and Ernie came up with the idea of doing monster-movie styled art as the cover,” Majidi says. “The dragon climbing the Empire State was a concept I always wanted to see brought to life, so the two ideas were destined to come together this way. I love the fact that although it’s the same artist, there’s no obvious aspect linking Ernie’s style from his first cover to this one.”
Wake the Sleeping Dragon! was put to proverbial tape by The Jerry Farley at Nova Studios in Staten Island, New York over two weeks and a half, while Danish producer Tue Madsen mixed and mastered SICK OF IT ALL’s latest rager at Antfarm Studios in Aabyhøj, Denmark. What helped the process run smoothly was Farley’s
early involvement, the two five-day pre-production sessions, and the ability to record as SICK OF IT ALL progressed with the songwriting. “The Jerry Farley also became a very important part of the creation of this album,” Majidi says. “This is the first time we’ve ever had a producer involved from start to finish, including the songwriting process. His objective viewpoints helped settle a lot of little issues that could have easily become stumbling blocks, and the songs themselves ended up benefitting from them. SICK OF IT ALL and Tue Madsen have maintained a long-lasting relationship based on understanding, friendship, and most importantly, good results—three factors any band would be very happy with.”
As for SICK OF IT ALL’s next steps, the picture is clear. Majidi and team are looking for a warm reception to Wake the Sleeping Dragon! and more rounds of tours around the globe. The sleeping dragon is awakening! And SICK OF IT ALL want you to join the rebellion!
Don Broco have announced their return with the brand new album Amazing Things, which will be released on the 17th September via Sharptone Records. To kick off proceedings they have also released the brilliant new single ‘Manchester Super Reds No.1 Fan’ with an out of this world video, which sees the band in a Star Trek spoof like no other. In deep space, the band set about creating their very own team of ‘Super Reds’, but do they have enough Beckham DNA to complete their starting line up…
Always unique, and forever pushing boundaries, Don Broco are never ones to follow the trend and the new album Amazing Things is very aptly named. It’s yet another genre-bending masterpiece with electro, rock, pop, metal and more all wrapped up in their own unique blend, bringing to mind the likes of Deftones, Beastie Boys, Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit amongst others… but simultaneously sounding like nobody else on earth.
Amazing Things is the band’s fourth album, and follows the release of 2018’s Technology, which was was a Top 5 album in the UK charts and has had over 100 million streams to date, and also 2015’s Automatic, which provided the band with their first Top 10 album in the UK.
Garnering nothing but praise for their relentless high-octane performances, Don Broco have previously sold-out arena shows across the UK, headlining Wembley Arena after selling out Alexandra Palace as well as festival performances around the world including Vans Warped Tour, Download, Reading & Leeds, Slam Dunk & more. They have also toured with the likes of Mike Shinoda, State Champs, Dance Gavin Dance and Our Last Night in the US as well as selling out their very own Debut US headline tour.
Lilith Czar arrives with the force of an otherworldly thunder, arising in visceral rebirth from an untimely grave of surrender and sacrifice. Her voice is the sound of supernatural determination, summoned with a confessional vulnerability and unapologetic authenticity. The girl who was Juliet Simms – her dreams discouraged and dismissed, her identity confined and controlled – is no more. In her place stands Lilith Czar, a new vessel forged in unbridled willpower and unashamed desire.
Her motivation is simple: if it’s truly “a man’s world”? She wants to be King.
Created from Filth and Dust, the debut album from Lilith Czar, is an evocative invitation into her bold new world. It’s aggressive music with warm accessibility; huge hooks with driving hard rock—the new larger-than-life icon channels the fierce combativeness of Fiona Apple and Stevie Nicks’ seductive witchery. Lilith Czar arms herself with sonic power, theatricality, and confidence. It’s a sound where the pulse of Nine Inch Nails, Halestorm’s songcraft, and the libertine spirit of David Bowie converge, all in service of a ritualistic ache for a more just and equitable world.
Lilith Czar is more than music. Her songs – like “King,” “Bad Love,” and “100 Little Deaths” – are anthems. She sounds both larger than life and hauntingly intimate, baring all in the ballad “Diamonds to Dust” or unleashing hell with the banshee wail of “Feed My Chaos.” As much as Lilith Czar’s music is perfectly suited for modern rock radio, it’s simultaneously timeless. Thanks in no small part to Czar’s rich voice, Created from Filth and Dust wouldn’t sound out of place in any significant rock era.
“I know who I am now, completely,” the singer declares. “I’ve found my purpose, creating art to inspire others to stand up for what they believe, to fight for their dreams, and to never give up.”
She summarizes the Lilith Czar origin story like this: “When you find yourself beaten down by the world, in those times you can either let it destroy you or let it create you.”
Created from filth and dust, destined to be King… Lilith Czar.
“Death is the one thing everyone’s super afraid of, but it’s the only thing we are promised. I’m choosing to celebrate it instead of being sad,” POORSTACY explains. For the South Florida native, the last few years have been some of his hardest, but they also have given him purpose and conviction like never before.
With his upcoming album Party At The Cemetery, the rock artist pays his respects to his friends who passed away. Self-admittedly, he’s lost really “all original friends,” in one tragedy or another, and the music reflects that. Forged in equal parts pain, apathy and celebration, POORSTACY tells a nuanced story of life and loss with a level of understanding that can only come from someone who has seen it all.
For Stacy, born Carlito Milfort Jr., making a rock album like Party At The Cemetery is not a trend, designed for clout. In fact, he “doesn’t give a fuck” about that kind of thing at all. This is the music that soundtracked his life. Growing up in West Palm Beach, Florida, Stacy fell in love with music by hanging out in the crowds of local shows. “I’ve been going to shows since I was 12 or 13. Slam punk, metalcore, death metal. Lots of satanic shit. I also went to a lot of raves where there was a ton of drum and bass growing up too,” he says.
Though the rock and electronic music that he gravitated towards as a kid once seemed like two very different scenes, they both thrived on a true DIY sensibility which Stacy loved. By his late teens, he began releasing his own songs to SoundCloud, in hopes that he could capture that same DIY spirit native to South Florida. Part of the early wave of emo-rap talents on the platform, Stacy penned underground hits like “make up” which gained millions of streams and ushered the subgenre into the mainstream consciousness.
His influence on the streaming platform led him to a deal with Elliot Grainge’s 10K Projects where he began releasing songs with labelmates like producer Nick Mira of Internet Money and iann dior and other talents like Travis Barker and Whethan. With his acclaimed crossover project The Breakfast Club and single “Choose Life” , Stacy showed his penchant for storytelling and allusion, something which he cements as one of his artistic signatures on Party At The Cemetery.
Even his name is an homage to one of his favorites who inspired POORSTACY with his craftsmanship and his ability to play the long game. “Stacy Peralta himself was not shown a lot of attention at the start, but he ended up being one of the biggest legends in skateboarding in the end. I always loved the idea of that, of doing your own thing and having it pay off.” Just like Peralta, POORSTACY isn’t making music for short term accolades and fame, he’s doing this for the art and legacy of it.
With this boundless interest in pop culture and art, POORSTACY’s first fully fledged rock record Party At The Cemetery is an eclectic collage of the stories, films, friends, and subgenres that have captured his attention and inspired him throughout his life. “I want to incorporate it all into my art. I love ballet. I love Stanley Kubrick. I love Tim Burton. I love Victorian architecture. There’s so much I draw on,” he says.
What’s next for Stacy? Directing, screenwriting, and maybe even a little modeling. “I’m interested in writing films right now, and I’m directing my own music videos for the new album,” he says. For Stacy, Party At The Cemetery is a moment to stop and pay respect to his life so far and to edify it through art, but he assures that he has a lot of plans for the future. “There’s a lot more coming,” he promises.
As pre-teens growing up in small-town Saint Joseph, Mo., brothers Dee, Isaiah and Solomon Radke enrolled in rock ‘n’ roll high school as their ticket out of Nowheresville. The brothers played their first show opening for Fishbone in 2011 and haven’t looked back since. In 2013, the Cat & Mouse and Devil Fruit EPs took Radkey from sweaty backroom punk gigs to storming the UK’s Download Festival and Riotfest in the U.S. They continue to tour nationally and internationally supporting bands such as Jack White, Rise Against, The Damned, WIZO, Descendents, Local H, and recently joined Foo Fighters on their 26th Anniversary Tour.
Radkey enlisted Arctic Monkeys producer/mixer, Ross Orton, to produce their debut record, Delicious Rock Noise. The result was an across-the-board detonation of several shades of rock, punk, and wild abandon – and riffs, riffs, riffs.
Radkey partnered with MasterCard in January 2018 for the #StartSomethingPriceless campaign featuring SZA. The campaign included a docuseries that premiered on The Ellen DeGeneres Show while commercials aired during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards televised broadcast.
2019 brought the release of No Strange Cats, produced with Bill Stevenson at The Blasting Room where Radkey’s sound continued to expand and mature, reflected in the sleek guitar and growing bass.
The 2020 self-release of Radkey’s third album, GREEN ROOM on Little Man Records has been described as “A rock album for the 21st Century” made up of thick, slick rock and roll sounds built on power chords and hypnotic vocal melodies. It’s a testament to the future of music, and Radkey is primed for rock and roll glory.
“This was the hardest record we’ve ever made, on every level,” says Nathan Hunt, referring to Shaman’s Harvest’s seventh LP.
The storyline seems obvious: The Missouri hard-rockers assembled this project during a global pandemic that debilitated the entire music industry. “Hard” has kinda been universal lately. But the road to Rebelator was even rockier than the band expected: natural disasters, logistical nightmares, an extreme case of collective writer’s block. “We struggled the whole way,” Hunt adds with a gruff baritone chuckle. “It was an interesting process for sure.”
Every creative step seemed to be hampered by an outside distraction—or even act of God.
“A tornado ripped through our town, 2 miles from our studio, leveling everything in its path” recalls guitarist Josh Hamler. “Luckily, no one was killed. Everything can be rebuilt, but we completely lost our creative vibe following the tragic event”.
“There was so much stop and go,” adds Hunt. “There was a flood. We’d have something scheduled, so we’d focus and be locked down for like a month at a time. Then somebody would have to go home, and it would be three weeks later before we’d start up again.”
“Or we’d run out of money,” Hamler adds with a laugh. “It was like Murphy’s law at one point—like, Jesus, what else is going to go wrong in the making of this record?”
Luckily, they had time on their side. After a couple grueling years of touring behind their last album, 2017’s Red Hands Black Deeds—a stretch that included numerous major rock festivals and runs opening for Nickelback and Seether—Shaman’s Harvest were creatively and personally drained. “You try writing on the road, maybe go to the back of the bus and come up with an idea,” Hunt says. “But it’s hard to be inspired when you’re tired. We were like, ‘Let’s just take the time off we need to make the record.’ We didn’t want to half-ass it.”
So founding members Hunt and Hamler, along with guitarist Derrick Shipp and drummer Adam Zemanek—hit the reset button hard, clearing out six months for demo construction at their Jefferson City rehearsal space. This meticulousness marked a distinct change from their usual methodology—instead of slapping together outlines before entering the studio, they treated their first takes with a new level of sensitivity, fleshing out the pieces until they knew them intimately.
“We usually have a really rough idea going into the studio—maybe it’s a verse, maybe it’s a thought,” Hunt says. “But we just write it on the fly and try to catch the magic. This time we wanted to approach it with some intention. We saw the demos all the way though, and that took a good, long pieces of time.”
The process was fairly haphazard at first, as the band tried to regain their footing. With everyone on-hand , they’d all wake up and try to churn up ideas—though it was slow going for a bit. “We’d just sit there and noodle until the spark ,” the frontman admits. “The first songs—some of them made the record, and some of them didn’t. Some of the stuff wasn’t up to par. We were sending stuff back and forth to the label, like, ‘What do you think of this?’ Just going from tour mode to creative mode, I had quite the block. I know everybody was like, ‘I don’t have anything.’ Then it just erupted.”
An early breakthrough was “Wishing Well,” a signature rocker that pairs a detuned metal chug with a twangy, soaring chorus and subtle yet eyebrow-raising flourishes like fingerpicked acoustic guitar and experimental vocal effects. The ideas just kept flowing from there, with the band encouraged by producer Kile Odell, who joined them for a month to offer his feedback.
Shaman’s Harvest were working with any musical seeds they could plant—like Hamler’s droning guitar on “Bird Dog,” which sprouted into a desert wasteland atmosphere of mouth harp, group percussion and deep, growling vocals. Hunt calls the final result a “weird mixture of things,” blending its dust-blown textures with bits of Metallica and Queens of the Stone Age—the perfect backdrop for his almost post-apocalyptic lyrics.
“It’s definitely a cinematic thing—if nothing else, it’s a color or just one little scene in my head,” he says. “In my head, I was envisioning a lot of these small towns, like a railroad town or a farm town where people don’t want to farm anymore. And it just goes to shit, and then you have the opioids come in and everyone becomes a zombie.”
When they arrived at lead single “Voices,” a graceful balance of light and shade, the band instantly knew they’d written one of their best—a feeling cemented by their mutual celebration. “Once we had it all laid out and had a rough demo,” says Hamler, “we listened back to the first time, and we all looked at each other and busted out laughing, like, ‘Fuck yeah!’”
“It’s one of those things that wrote itself,” adds Hunt. “It needed an anthemic hum-along vibe. Everybody saw that song, which is pretty rare.”
Though they ultimately found their momentum, some of the darkness from this era wound up informing their lyrics—though often indirectly. Breakup song “Flatline” documents an unspecified doomed relationship that, Hunt says, “just keeps on corroding” past its natural shelf life. “Wishing Well,” the “epic of the record,” zeroes in on the “predatory” and manipulative nature of some men. The band’s own creative challenges even added to the overcast themes—”Just the frustrations of trying to make a record,” Hunt notes with a laugh, “when the universe did not want you to make a record.”
Shaman’s Harvest persevered, of course, and wound up with their richest, most well-rounded album to date—a natural progression from Red Hands Black Deeds, 2014’s Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns and 2009’s Shine, which featured the breakout single “Dragonfly.”
In keeping with the spirit of those last three albums, the band aimed to, in Hunt’s words, “de-genre-fy” their music—aiming beyond the rote contemporary rock-metal formula to add sublet arrangement quirks.
The loose yet professional atmosphere in St. Louis’ Sawhorse Studios, where they hunkered down for a month with house engineer Jason McEntyre, helped them in that quest for experimentation.
“We were able to stretch our legs a little bit,” says Hunt. “That’s kind of a dying thing: people renting out whole studios, because it’s expensive as fuck. The piano was Ike and Tina Turner record, and we were able to pick up on the vibes from that. Jason knew all the tricks of that room to experiment, Like using the talkback mic on the drums or using old tape machines.”
A good example of their trial and error is “Lilith,” a sonic jigsaw puzzle that pairs an Allman Brothers-style slide guitar with a distorted, drop-tuning riff and a tender piano outro.
“That song in particular has a Southern rock vibe in the slide, but there’s also an industrial electronic feel in the percussion,” Hunt says. “There’s the acoustic vibe at the end with the piano. There’s a lot of weird warbles going on. Especially in rock and roll, people seem to be afraid to add a fucking banjo or a mandolin under there. But when you think about the mix when it’s done, those are the things that pop out. I think it’s important that we de-genre-fy the rock culture and sound.”
“We don’t want to feel limited when we’re in the studio,” Hamler interjects. “We want to try things or take something that’s out of the ordinary and find a way to make it work.”
“Otherwise, how are you going to get anyone to pay attention these days?” Hunt adds. “Or even get yourself to pay attention? We’re all artists, and nothing destroys art like monotony.”
Appropriately enough for a band named New Years Day, their stunning new Unbreakable album signifies a new outlook—as well as a high-water mark for the Cali-bred lineup. Yet it was a rocky road to Unbreakable, as singer Ash Costello explains: “If I had to look at my life like a timeline of colors, when I wrote our last album, Malevolence , it was pitch, charcoal black. But in the last couple years, the band cut off toxic people, built a new business team, and we’re stronger than we’ve ever been. So when we went to make Unbreakable, I wanted the process to be fun, to reflect our renewed vibe and energy,” she says. “We set out to write the poppiest metal album, or the most metal pop album.”
On Unbreakable, that mission is accomplished. It’s a dozen intense, boundary-melding songs that may touch on metal or goth, but are ultimately undeniable modern rock ‘n’ roll tunes, no-holds-barred, done the New Years Day way. The public got its first taste of Unbreakable in November 2018, with the booming, ultra-dynamic “Skeletons.” The song surpassed 1 million worldwide streams, the first proof that Unbreakable was going to be unbeatable. “Shut Up,” with ultra-melodic, breathy vocals and a hardcore message, plus the dark taunt and industrial grind of ‘Come For Me,” with its irresistible chorus, capture a young band in its creative prime, and a singer solidly in charge of her vision.
Costello, raised in Anaheim, grew up worshiping the powerful voice and presence of another local girl: No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani. Like her childhood idol, Costello was singing in bands by high school. But it wasn’t until a few years into NYD’s career that everything gelled. “I feel like New Years Day was really born when our EP Epidemic came out; it was the first taste of who we really are,” Costello says. “Everything before that feels like a different band, and technically was. Then Malevolence came out, it was sort of our punch in the dick to the music industry, and we did our first headlining tour in 2015.” Malevolence hit #45 on the Billboard 200, thanks to the radio hits “Defame Me” and “Kill Or Be Killed.” In 2017, the band headlined the Vans Warped Tour; did a month-long festival run with Halestorm; and appeared on the Punk Goes Pop compilation, covering Kehlani’s “Gangsta” from the movie Suicide Squad.
Unbreakable showcases a New Years Day stripped bare—literally. The “boys in the band” left behind their white face makeup, which all admit was somewhat of a “safety blanket.” Likewise, Costello stripped down her songwriting. “I used to think lyrics needed to have metaphorical veils and be super-dense and paint a picture but leave it up to the interpretation.” But for Unbreakable, she says with characteristic forthrightness: “I was, ‘fuck that, I’m literally going to say exactly what I want to say.’ Yeah, there’s some metaphorical stuff, but this is me moving into a more literal direction.”
Songs like “Shut Up” blend a musical vulnerability with tough lyrics, not an easy task. But thanks in part to doing covers—of Kehalni, Pantera and others—New Years Day discovered their own versatility and creativity. “We made those songs work for our band, and that was the first time I realized we could go that direction in our own writing, make the super-melodic and the dirty, ratchety stuff work together. ‘Shut Up’ was written in a day, which just doesn’t happen. I was going through some heavy personal stuff, and I was just, ‘don’t tell me what I want, shut up and give it to me!’”
If “Shut Up” was nearly instantaneous, “Come For Me” took a year to write. It’s truly a fight song– “If you have a problem with me, I’ll put you on the guest list, come for me; we’ll fight it out,” offers up Costello. But? “It also sounds dirty,” she laughs. “I’m just trying to write songs that strippers can strip to: a good beat and some sexy-ass lyrics!”
The dichotomy between Costello’s two sides—embodied in her red and black hair, and even her tattoos has coalesced in the songs on Unbreakable. But the painful part of the creative journey to Unbreakable began long before “Skeletons” was written. Before writing “Skeletons” in 2018, NYD did an album’s worth of songs…. then threw them out. Literally.
“It wasn’t someone who else told us they didn’t like our record. It was US, the band, saying ‘THIS IS NOT IT,’” Costello recalls. New Years Day weren’t feeling that elusive “it” midway through the process. Yet Costello “was trying to be hopeful and stick it out.” The turning point came in 2017 when NYD listened to their effort from start to finish with their old business team, and it didn’t feel good or right. So, in a moment of bravery— “a very scary moment,” NYD canned the record and their business affiliations. “I trust the universe,” says Costello. “And it took us where we needed to go. That door was meant to close that day. That group of songs are gone. But Unbreakable came out of it, and also our new label and management. “It was about taking control of our art. We did, and everything good followed.”
A couple of those good things were writers/producers Mitch Marlow and Scott Stevens . Each were writing with Costello, but she brought the pair, who had never met, together. “Both became producers and ended up splitting the album, which is unheard of. But they were super passionate about me as an artist and the band, the record, and what we have built,” Costello says. “They fit like puzzle pieces. Marlow brings the blood and guts, Stevens the melodies. “You put the two guys together, and I’m the person who embodies both sides, musically. I’m a little horror, a little blood and guts, and a little ‘I love Mickey Mouse’ happy. It’s a little ugly, it’s a little pretty. Now the music is finally reflecting that. “
The risk New Years Day’s took has earned them copious rewards, and those “pitch, charcoal” days—which were equally daunting times for guitarist Nikki Misery and bassist Frankie Sil—are in the rear view. There were times when Costello felt she might not survive—”and it shows in Malevolence. But the past couple years, the communication among the band is incredible. We’ve got this shit. We’re tight. We’ve lifted ourselves out of the dirt.”
The reignited band unity and honesty boosted the creation of Unbreakable, resulting in an album that tough critic Misery calls “groundbreaking.” There were the times when Costello would “call Nikki or Frankie, looking for a pep talk. I don’t ever want to be stagnant; I wanted to push myself vocally, in my writing, better melodies, everything. So I put the pressure on myself.”
Misery, in keeping with his rebellious punky energy, is a “tough love kind of person.” But he had his singer’s back. “He can pick me up. There aren’t a lot of people I’ll listen to in this world; I’ve learned so much on my own, school of hard knocks, but Nikki can tell me the truth and I’ll listen,” says Costello.
Ditto Frankie, who describes two his band mates as “best friends. It’s a Mick Jagger/Keith Richards sort of relationship; they have this insane chemistry.” With lead guitarist Austin Ingerman bringing his multi-faceted musicality to NYD the members of New Years Day finally feel “Unbreakable.” Bascially, title track says it all: “I stepped on broken glass / Walking through the past / Feeling every cut that crippled me / Been through it all before / Won’t go back anymore / I’ve gone too far … You can’t shatter me now / I’m Unbreakable.”
A Godfather figure is understood to be a purveyor of genre; a pioneer in a particu-lar realm of creation. Perhaps more importantly, and after over 3 decades molding the Hardcore realm, AGNOSTIC FRONT have protected and nurtured Hardcore mu-sic in such a way that it still exists healthily & in its proper form, today. As a band that has cultivated their reputation with honesty, and that prioritizes affirming their social messages to the world, GET LOUD! is well suited as the title for their 12th, full length studio album. Although the sociopolitical climate has transformed considerably since the release of the United Blood EP in 1983, the basic concepts of political corruption and social unrest have only been enhanced, and with them the fuel on AGNOSTIC FRONT’s fire. “We’ve always had a voice; had a lot to say. We’re always screaming for a change” says frontman Roger Miret. “Speak up, get loud, say what you have to say. Be the change you want to see in the world. You can’t change the whole thing, but you can make little differences that will matter, eventually.”
For such a memorable album, the reappearance of Cause For Alarm artist Sean Taggart was vital in order to deliver a piece of art that perfectly combined the old school with the current state of the world. Bringing the CFA characters back to life in a new age, the artwork will be familiar to AGNOSTIC FRONT fans the world over, but still maintains a modern freshness. When CFA was initially released in 1986 it was a distinguished and prosperous time for the world of Hardcore, and it is that time, and that vibe, that this album aspires to reassert.
GET LOUD! is compiled of 14 tracks that are nothing short of classic, home grown, NewYork Hardcore, but still includes some thrashy and punky variety. The title track carries a common message for the entire album. It’s a moody and riveting version of “speak up, aren’t you sick of the same day to day routine? It’s time to make that change and stop climbing up that same exact wall. That’s what GET LOUD! is all about.” says Miret. Songs like “ I Remember ” are important glimpses into the lives of the men of AGNOSTIC FRONT and thus tie in strongly with their recent release of Ian McFarland’s Documentary: THE GODFATHERS OF HARDCORE . Although it was written after the release of the film, the track serves al-most as a theme song for the documentary in which Miret and founding guitarist Vinnie Stigma recall their pasts and their most groundbreaking records; even first meeting one another. Songs like “Conquer And Divide” speak to the current state of where we as humans are today. “It’s like all the government has ever wanted is to divide the people, and then come in and conquer. I see it happening today; so-cial media is a huge let down in that way. Now everyone has a voice, and I get it, but I can’t believe how quickly some people are willing to jump headfirst into something that doesn’t care about them” Miret explains. “Power of expression, power of the mind, freedom of speech, live free or die, stand up and resist, gotta fight to exist, break down the walls that divide.”
The raw and emotional journey of “THE GODFATHERS OF HARDCORE” can be credited as having some affect on the course of this record cycle. “It was nothing like I expected, it was mind blowing because it was SO US” Miret reflects. “It was pretty incredible to have that, for my family, the future of my family. Put some-thing out there digitally, and it’s out there forever. I’m really happy we never did anything like this, that this is it. It will hold through the tests of time. It’s not just a movie about punk, or hardcore, or metal, it’s about humanity and it’s awesome.”
An old school band in a new era can be an adjustment, but there’s something to be said for the technological advances that have enabled AGNOSTIC FRONT to write this new album, even with distances between the core members of the band. Ideas, lyrics, and riffs were tossed around amongst the guys in a digital universe, and once solid skeletons were formed, the final portion of the writing, the finess-ing, and the recording began in person. Produced by Miret himself, longtime friend Paul Miner of Buzz Bomb Studios then tracked, recorded, mixed, and mastered the album. GET LOUD! is now arranged, groomed, and ready to make its debut to fans the world over.
“Something real. I think that’s the secret to our longevity. People see us, and they see something that’s real and genuine, and they want to be a part of that. Who wants to be a part of something that’s fake? If you feel a connection to something and it feels real, you wanna know about it and be a part of it.”
Get ready for PLUSH! PLUSH is an all-female rock band with a mission to bring rock back to the forefront of the music industry. PLUSH is composed of four talented women, under 21, whose accomplishments and talent eclipse their age. This female rock force is fronted by singer, songwriter and guitarist Moriah Formica. Drummer Brooke Colucci, guitarist Bella Perron and bassist Ashley Suppa round out the lineup.
Moriah skyrocketed to national recognition when she auditioned for NBC’s “The Voice” at 16. She became one of the youngest competitors in the show’s history to turn all four judge’s chairs and the only NBC’s The Voice contestant to get all four chairs performing a rock-based song. Her performance of Heart’s “Crazy on You” garnered viral fame and lauded the 4’11” star as a “pint-sized powerhouse” by judge and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine. Miley Cyrus referred to her as a “Rock Goddess”.
Brooke Colucci, known by her moniker Rock Angel, has several viral videos of her own as well, generating over 14 million views.
Lead guitarist Bella Perron is a freshman at Berklee College of Music and a guitar virtuoso. Bella adds to the band’s ferocious melodies with amazing backing vocals and a no holds barred brand of uncompromising rock.
Bassist Ashley Suppa, hailed as the “female version of Cliff Burton”, adds an undeniable bass undertow that must be seen as well as heard to be believed. PLUSH’s debut song and single “Hate” has generated a Billboard Top 40 Mainstream Rock hit, which has launched the band rapidly into the fans of the rock music world. Furthermore, their YouTube rendition of Alter Bridge’s “Isolation” exploded virally, generating much praise by fans and the actual band themselves. PLUSH is currently in the studio with Grammy nominated producer Johnny K to record their debut album for the label Pavement Entertainment.
The mission of PLUSH is to bring the heart of rock back to the mainstream with a new fresh spin on the sounds you already love. PLUSH hopes to inspire young women everywhere to follow their dreams, regardless of whatever challenges may lie in the way.
As 2019 came to a close, rock band Red Sun Rising announced an indefinite hiatus as its members pursued other opportunities.
Soon after, the world as we knew it sunk into the deep hole of the pandemic. The time in lockdown helped to fuel to the creative process for singer and songwriter Mike Protich, who was in search of a new creative release and to stretch his musical muscles.
He recruited two members from his former band — Patrick Gerasia on drums and David McGarry on guitar. The threesome began to work remotely during the initial lockdown and quarantine. They embarked on virtual sessions using home studio setups and collaborating with producer Albert DiFiore in Nashville Tennessee.
With roots in rock music, the three began to find fresh and invigorating ways to utilize their musicianship beyond the standard iteration of rock bands. They embraced experimentation by blending the familiar elements of rock music with a newfound appreciation for electronic and digital sounds. This process was elevated due to the fact that the members were unable to physically be in a room together to play.
Out of this process, The Violent was born.
It is truly a child of this chaotic pandemic — both sonically and lyrically.
If you’re not pissed off, then you’re not paying attention. Ded thrives on the aggressive spirit that is authentic to the heavy music genre. “There is an honesty and attitude about heavy music that I don’t feel as often anymore” says lead singer Joe Cotela – “and we want to bring that back”. Ded is loud and aggressive – but it serves as a positive outlet: the band produces an unapologetic sound that draws from the art of fantasy and expressive screams. Their debut album
“Mis-An-thrope” has made an impact across the Rock world.
Ded was born in the music scene of Phoenix, Arizona and has been together for almost 3 years. Band members Joe Cotela , David Ludlow , Kyle Koelsch , and Matt Reinhard developed a friendship and ultimately a musical partnership that mixes horror and dark imagery to develop a familiar, yet unique sound that sets them apart from other bands. Cotela says “With our music – we want to make the listener feel like how you feel after you’ve watched a really good horror movie – on edge, jittery… And very much alive”. They incorporate these volatile elements into their lyrics – with the hopes that it will breathe new life into the hard-core genre. Imagine an inspired take on outward thinking that transcends screaming, and low tuned riffs. Their sound is meant to “be in your face and tell it like it is”, while paying homage to Korn and Pantera, who served as early inspirations. Ded are also influenced by more recent bands like Slipknot and Bring Me The Horizon. This is modern hard rock & alternative metal that goes beyond anger – including themes like existentialism and ego in everyday life. The lyrics are timely and resonate with an audience navigating the chaotic world we live in.
The band’s work ethic, drive, and dedication led them to record an EP that quickly made the rounds of the music industry, and started a buzz that opened doors. Using that as a springboard, the band hit the road and toured with Beartooth, Asking Alexandria, Atreyu, Every Time I Die, Upon a Burning Body, The Acacia Strain, John 5, Powerman 5000, and Insane Clown Posse among others.
Their touring helped grow awareness in the business and brought them to the attention of producer John Feldmann
. Their collaboration with Feldmann culminated in the band signing with Jordan Schur @ Suretone Records – who discovered and grew the careers of platinum rock acts Staind and Limp Bizkit, among others. Suretone released their first song and video for “FMFY” in December 2016.
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2017 was very busy year for Ded – they played all Major Rock U.S. festivals, played more than 150 live shows and toured 25 dates with KORN and Stone Sour. Both of their 1st two singles “Anti-Everything” and “Remember The Enemy” reached the Top 20 on the Active Rock Radio charts. “Anti-Everything” was #8 on SiriusXM Octane’s Top 10 for 2017 and they named the band “Artist Discovery of the Year”. They won the Kilpop/Rock Radio Award for Metal Debut of the Year”. “Anti-Everything” & “Remember The Enemy” were featured on high profile curated Hard Rock & Metal playlists at all major streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon Music, Youtube, and Google Play Music. The video for “Anti-Everything” has more than 1.4 million views on Youtube. The band is repped by CAA for booking.
Their 3rd single “Hate Me” recently peaked at #28 on the Active Rock Radio charts and has been featured on key playlists including Spotify’s “Rock Hard”, Apple Music’s “Breaking Hard Rock”, Amazon Music’s “Fresh Rock” and “Introducing Rock”, Pandora “New Rock”, Youtube and Google Play Music’s “Hard Rock Hotlist”.
The moment you find your voice, you step into yourself and actualize your potential. At this point, expectations no longer matter, fear disappears, and everything changes.
Against The Current not only embrace their voice, but project it louder than ever in 2020. After hundreds of millions of streams, major collaborations with the likes of Riot Games, and countless packed shows, the trio—Chrissy Costanza , Dan Gow , and Will Ferri —lift themselves up to this moment with new single “That Won’t Save Us.” Powered by a hard-hitting guitar riff, hyper-confident vocals, and an entrancing bridge, the track swings like a wrecking ball between fits of fierce vulnerability and frenetic vitality.
SOLENCE is the musical antidote to what ails the brokenhearted and downtrodden. As they summon a soaring celebration of life-affirming positivity, the Swedish foursome’s diverse songs demonstrate the strength found in a community defined by shared passions and goals. Multi-instrumentalist melody makers bonded together at a young age in pursuit of artistic inspiration and connection, SOLENCE quickly amassed 100 million streams across all platforms. Deafening, the band’s eclectic and invigorating sophomore album, is a watershed work of possibility, perseverance, and positivity.
“In a hard rock world that can be pretty dark and depressing, we try to make things a little brighter and encourage our fans to believe in themselves,” explains frontman Markus Videsäter. To “follow your heart’s compass” is the SOLENCE mission statement, a strong sentiment shared between guitarist David Strääf, keyboardist Johan Swärd, drummer David Vikingsson, and singer Videsäter.
Is SOLENCE a hard rock band with electronic elements or an electronic band with a rock infusion? It depends on the song. Already drawing favorable comparisons to I Prevail, Palaye Royale, and Bring Me The Horizon. They developed their sizeable worldwide audience from a shared living space in Stockholm, first emerging with heavy renditions of well-known pop hits. But none of those videos were as popular as the band’s own music. In 2020, they broke into the Active Rock Radio Top 50, as “Animal in Me” became the most played track on SiriusXM’s Octane.
Like 2019’s Brothers, Deafening is a massive leap forward. Imagine the aggressive but catchy wallop of In Flames masterpiece A Sense of Purpose colliding with the melody of The 1975, the pop sensibility of hitmaking maestro Max Martin, electro pulse, and a bit of Avenged Sevenfold shred. “We are still carving out our musical identity,” Markus says with excitement. There’s no singular moment for this band or, by extension, their audience. It’s all about the journey. Get ready and Enjoy the SOLENCE.
Diamante knows what it means to truly shine. With iridescent sapphire hair, a show-stopping voice, runway-ready fashion swagger, and an empowering message, the Boston-raised and Los Angeles-based Mexican-Italian-American siren brings a new fire to rock and alternative music.
Diamante spent her teenage years cutting her teeth at local gigs on the Sunset Strip to become the powerhouse performer she is today. A disciple of both P!nk and Guns N’ Roses who doesn’t fall into rockstar excess or even sport tattoos, she devoted every waking minute to honing a signature “hard rock sound with a modern alternative edge.”
After extensive touring with bands like Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and Shinedown… Diamante is in full force shining brighter than ever before. In 2019, Diamante teamed up as an independent artist with Howard Benson and Neil Sanderson to make her sophomore album, American Dream. Diamante capitalized on her newfound ultimate creative freedom and independence by being her own CEO throughout every facet of the album process. On working with Benson and Sanderson, Diamante praises that they were instrumental in “bringing my stories to life and pushing me to embrace my vulnerabilities”. American Dream shows exponential growth, proving now more than ever that Diamante’s fearlessness to bear her soul in her music is what truly sets her apart.
S8NT ELEKTRIC is a five-piece hard rock band, influenced by all types of rock, alternative, and even disco. With a goal of innovating rock n’ roll for the 21st century, they have hard hitting players and unexpected twists and turns in their music. Releasing one single at a time, they are paving their own lane in this complicated musical landscape. The lineup includes Briana Carbajal on vocals, Niko Tsangaris on lead guitar, London Hudson on drums, Eric Matt on rhythm guitar, and Jack Kleinman on bass.
When you think about Alternative music Oxymorrons undoubtedly come to mind. The New York-based boundary-pushers have made a name for themselves in the spirit of change – building a movement from years of being told they were too rock for hip-hop, too hip-hop for rock. They boldly committed to creating music that defies arbitrary rules of classification, cementing the band as early pioneers of the modern genre-blending revolution.
Oxymorrons began as a collaboration between Kami and Demi , two Queens-bred brothers profoundly touched by the power of music at an early age. “From my dad playing Lionel Richie to Phil Collins, to our older brother playing Biggie to Metallica, I was definitely an MTV baby,” recalls K.I. “I would watch videos from acts like Soundgarden and Nirvana and pretend to be a rock star, even breaking my bed a few times, lol.”
Meanwhile, their neighborhood was always full of hip hop stars like Onyx, Lost Boyz, AZ, 50 Cent and Nicki Minaj, and seeing their successes let K.I. and Deee know what was possible. Still for the two brothers it was always about finding a way to think outside the box as an artist and carving their own path. “It was acts like NERD, Jay-Z, The Diplomats, Kanye West, Outcast, Jamiroquai, Lupe Fiasco and Kid Cudi that really influenced us the most,” says Deee. “They inspired us to be ourselves.”
The lineup expanded with the addition of drummer extraordinaire Matty Mayz who seemingly fell from the sky into their laps at just the right time. “Matty was an intern at a management company we used to work with early on and he overheard how our drummer at the time had just flaked on an upcoming gig,” recalls K.I. “He immediately told us he could play and so we gave him 8 songs to learn in just 2 days. He crushed it and has been with us ever since.”
Guitarist Jafé Paulino was a well known musician/vocalist from the underground NYC music scene who made a name for himself playing with a wide variety of local Brooklyn- based acts. So when a mutual friend showed Deee a video of Jafé doing his thing, he was extremely impressed. “We met up for coffee and quickly realized there was a lot of synergy in what we all were doing and stood for,” says Deee. Jafé immediately became an intricate part of the band and the lineup was finally set.
Oxymorrons are no stranger to the big stage. They have toured and shared the stage with the likes of Lupe Fiasco, Fever 333, Fishbone, Gym Class Heroes, OutKast, Envy On the Coast, Foxy Shazam, Waka Flocka, Rihanna and more. They have also graced
the stage at notable festivals such as Warped Tour, Afro Punk, Firefly, SummerFest and Funkfest to name a few. Their high energy performance and versatile sound makes for a potent combination that never disappoints.
Yet it’s not just the live show where Oxymorrons have left their mark. They have received co-signs from Billboard, Kerrang!, The Fader, Alternative Press, Complex, Hypebeast, Ebro of Beats 1 Radio, Daniel Carter BBC1 Radio and many more. Their larger than life songs have been used in ads for ABC’s ‘The Mayor’ and Converse, and featured on ESPN’s First Take. They have also found synergy in brand partnerships with Dr Martens, HUF, Microsoft, Taco Bell, Hot Topic and beyond.
As the newest addition to Jason Aalon Butler’s Artist Collective ‘333 Wreckords Crew’, Oxymorrons have expanded their sound with their first release “Justice”, putting forth a powerful message during these tumultuous times. “We have a lot to say with ‘Justice’, and it’s more than just the lyrical content, it’s about the actions behind it,” explains Matty. Jafé adds, “We have chosen to designate all profits from this song to grassroots organizations that are fighting for social justice with their boots on the ground. It aligns us with the movement of time, regardless of the times.” Never shying away from using their voices for social change, they have also used their platform to give back to causes they support including Jed Foundation and Hip-Hop Hacks.
Although 2020 was the year of the pandemic, it was still a very productive year for Oxymorrons as they solidified their base, finished a new album and are in prime position to bring the noise in 2021. Be on the lookout for their next single “Green Vision” to drop at the top of the year….you have been warned.
“Afterlife” is a four piece rock metal band from West Palm Beach, Florida.
Formed in late 2017 “Afterlife” have had their foot on the neck of the rock metal scene with their captivating live show, honest and relatable song writing and unmatched fan engagement!
“Afterlife” are poised to leave their mark on the rock metal scene.
When it comes to pivotal life moments, having the mighty Nick Cave snatch a balloon out of your hands when you’re seven years old before smirkingly stomping on it is going to make you do one of two things. 1) Run off crying and forever commit to a quiet life or 2) Decide to be just like the big tall man who gets a kick out of scaring little kids. When it happened to Lia Metcalfe, she wisely decided to do the latter.
Still only 20 years old, the Mysterines’ imposing frontwoman melds together more than her lifetime’s worth of experiences with the kind of deep, impassioned vocal you won’t forget in a hurry. In her songs and stagecraft you’ll see and hear everything from PJ Harvey’s raw and ragged stomp to the crazed carnival energy of Tom Waits and eviscerating poetics of Patti Smith. The first great British rock band of the post-pandemic era, the Mysterines let us in on Lia’s unfiltered look at life, the universe and everything, complete with serious riffs and an unflinching honesty.
Though currently based in Manchester, Lia was raised in Liverpool, born to parents only just out of their teens who raised her on the road and in and out of festival VIP areas – hence that unforgettable run-in with Nick Cave. Both were – and still are – music obsessives, bringing her up to the sounds of Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, The Strokes, Motown classics and Bob Dylan, who remains her songwriting icon.
Lia never remembers not singing. “I didn’t really know any different,” she explains. “Growing up around someone who was always making music and always writing, it just seemed like the natural thing.” Since the start her voice was a cut above, a bassy, deep thing even when she was just a kid. But what really hooked her into making music was lyrics. “I still don’t really see myself as a singer,” she explains. “First and foremost I’m a writer, that’s my main passion.” 2019 Air Jordan 1 Mid SE “Lakers” White Purple Yellow For Sale