Tag Archives: metalcore

[Album Review] Trivium – “Vengeance Falls”

Orlando, Florida’s Trivium have made a point to deliver an entirely different collection of music with each studio release. Coming off the heels of 2011’s standard metalcore album, In Waves, 2013’s Vengeance Falls treads experimental waters with more of an industrial sound. Despite its superiority over In Waves, the new record does not meet the prowess of 2008’s ShogunShogun was easily the definitive Trivium record thus far, showing the band’s full potential in every form of musicianship.  Shogun was a coming of age for the group of metalhead 20-somethings.

Although In Waves might have set them back a bit, Vengeance Falls has partially redeemed the band. As publicized, the new album was produced by Disturbed/Device vocalist David Draiman. The musicianship on Vengeance Falls shows that Draiman probably offered significant feedback which Trivium considered, as several songs sound extremely Device-inspired.  In fact, lead vocalist/guitarist Matt Heafy utilizes vocal techniques signature of Draiman in several songs, especially “To Believe.”

That is not to say that this is not original material.  All of these new songs were clearly penned by Heafy, guitarist Corey Beaulieu, bassist Paolo Gregoletto, and drummer Nick Augusto.  Each musician excels with his performance, both individually and together as a band.  The dueling guitar solos in “Strife” showcase the capabilities of both Heafy and Beaulieu.  With very few screams from Heafy throughout the record, the lead vocalist is able to offer more of his sharp and clear clean singing within a relatively wide vocal range.

“No Way To Heal” includes both screams and clean vocals from Heafy with a song composition reminiscent of Shogun, thus becoming one of the better tracks on Vengeance Falls. It almost sounds like it could have been a B-side from the Shogun recording sessions.

Other key focus tracks are “Brave This Storm,” “Through Blood and Dirt and Bone,” and “Villainy Thrives.”

Vengeance may be falling for this maturing group of young men, but Trivium’s potential is once again rising.

 

MusicTalker’s rating: 4/5


In the Hot Seat: We The Machine

Up-and-coming metalcore/post-hardcore outfit, We The Machine, have been building a solid fan base since their recent inception in 2012.  As it has almost been a full year since Awakening Biota handled the “hot seat,” it was a great opportunity to pick the brains of another Massachusetts band.  Unfortunately, due to conflicting schedules, I was not able to sit in on a band practice for We The Machine as I did with Awakening Biota.  Still, we managed to collaborate via email to bring you the conversation below.  While guitarist/vocalist/main songwriter, Jace Frenzy, conquers most of my questions, the rest of the band weighs in on a couple inquiries.

These guys offered some pretty interesting answers to some of my questions.  It was especially surprising to see the diversity of their first concerts. Check out the interview below.

For more information on We The Machine, visit their Facebook page here.

 

You guys just formed in 2012, but already seem to have a relatively large and ever-growing fan base. How did We The Machine come to be and what did you do to get so many followers off the bat?

Jace: Well a lot of us came from previous bands, whom had a residual following of some die-hard fans.  Also, I think that people love to be early-adopters and can relate with what We The Machine is all about – pursuing your passions.  We definitely feed off of their energy, and their support makes us love what we do every day.

Who are your main influences?

Jace:  The band puts their individual spins on each tune.  Musically, you will definitely hear my pop punk roots mixed in with some heavy chug riffs and even some technical guitar work, which our lead guitarist Max loves to write.  We’ve heard people compare us to bands like We Came As Romans, Memphis May Fire, Oh Sleeper, The Color Morale, etc. – although I think there’s a ton of influences that goes into making a band your own.

What was the first concert you ever attended?

Jace:  Green Day in Worcester, MA
Max: Dethklok and Mastodon in Boston, MA

Dave: Slipknot in Mansfield, MA

Danny: Korn in Lowell, MA

Derek: Van Halen in Lowell, MA

Mark: Metallica in Foxboro, MA
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In the Hot Seat: Psychopathic Daze

After a month of e-mail communication and a stint as MusicTalker’s “Artist of the Week,” Psychopathic Daze have finally found their way to “the hot seat.”  As mentioned in my previous article, this up-and-coming Chicago act needs more exposure.  They have more talent than many better-known metal bands.  They also seem to work harder than many signed bands.  For instance, Psychopathic Daze have shared the stage with the likes of As I Lay Dying, In Flames, Hatebreed, Sylosis, Between the Buried and Me, and Lamb of God.  Don’t take my word for it, though.  Check them out on Facebook.

With all of that said, give my conversation with the band a read below.  I was able to pick their brains about the band’s formation, their favorite experience of sharing the stage with an established band, their current U.S. tour, and the new album, among other pressing topics.  I found their answers interesting and entertaining, as I hope you will, too.  I was especially intrigued by the amount of effort and time they put into the song, “My Black Dahlia,” which is definitely worth a good, hard listen.

 

I understand [bassist] Kyle Meiser and [guitarist] Frank Adamo were recruited via networking.  How did original members [former guitarist] Mike Fitzpatrick, [vocalist] Ken Morahan, and [drummer] Ryan Kinsella come to form Psychopathic Daze?

Pretty much the same way. Mike owns a haunted house, and he originally wanted a band to play at the haunt while people were standing in line. So he put up a couple of Craigslist ads and found Ken and Ryan. The funny thing is, the band only ever played at the haunt once, and we got shut down 3/4 of the way through the set by the cops. The band ended up growing into much more than just a haunt band, and we continue to focus on growing our career.

How did you guys come up with the name Psychopathic Daze?

The band existed without a name for several months while various names were being thrown around. One Christmas Eve, Ken was at home working on some lyrics, and the song “Psychopathic Daze” popped out in about minutes. When he brought the song/song title to the band, everyone liked the name and adopted it as the band name.

As you may have seen in my artist spotlight for your band, I compared your music to that of In Flames.  Whose music do you think your sound correlates the most to, if anyone?

Thanks for that awesome comparison! We try not to sound like anyone. The way we see it, As I Lay Dying (for example) plays As I-style music better than we ever could, so why would we try to copy that? At the same time, we play our music better than any other band would be able to. So we focus on writing our music our way. All that being said, it’s impossible not to be influenced by somebody in this day and age. Our favorites would probably be Lamb of God, August Burns Red, Slipknot,Pantera, As I Lay Dying, and Killswitch Engage.

From the impressive list of established bands with whom you have shared a stage, who offered the most memorable experience?  What did the experience entail?

I think our favorite show with an established band would have to be when we played with Dope. For one, their crowd REALLY seemed to get into our music, and just threw down with us. That always makes our job easier. The other thing that stood out was Dope’s support. Every one of them watched our entire set and was hugely supportive of us after the show. The night ended up being one of those nights where you get off stage and just go, “THAT is why we do this!”
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[REVIEW] Killswitch Engage Come Full Force with “Disarm the Descent”

In my song review of “In Due Time,” the first single off of 2013’s Disarm the Descent, I conjectured that the first Killswitch Engage album to feature original vocalist Jesse Leach since 2002’s Alive Or Just Breathing would sound like a combination between Alive and 2004’s The End of Heartache.  After having listened to Disarm in its entirety numerous times, a better comparison is a mesh between Times of Grace and Killswitch Engage.

Times of Grace was a project featuring Killswitch Engage guitarist vocalist Adam D. and Leach prior to Leach’s return to Killswitch.  The project’s debut album, 2010’s The Hymn Of A Broken Man, received critical acclaim.  It sounded like a more melodic and mature version of Killswitch Engage.

As the members of Killswitch Engage are not getting any younger, maturity is inevitable.  Therefore, the heavy influence of the Times of Grace sound in the writing of Disarm the Descent was unavoidable.  Some Internet users labeled the result “Killswitch of Grace” and “Times of Killswitch.”  While those may be accurate assessments, Disarm is undoubtedly a stronger release than 2009’s Killswitch Engage.

The overall composition of the songs is stronger, as well as the effort and emotion the musicians poured into the new material.  Leach sounds better than ever, as does the rest of the band.  Adam D.’s backing vocals perfectly complement those of Leach.  The guitar riffs and the choruses are arguably the most appealing of any Killswitch release.

Key tracks include “The Hell In Me,” “Always,” and “No End In Sight.”  “The Hell In Me” is a great opener and sets the tone for an intense listen.  “Always” and “No End In Sight” are probably the closest songs to the Times of Grace material.  The former is a mellow, ballad-like song, fresh from the Times of Grace sessions, or so it sounds like.  The latter has many similar elements to Times of Grace’s “Strength In Numbers.”  They both include Leach chanting lyrics at the beginning with groovy guitar licks.  “No End In Sight” is one of the heaviest yet catchiest tracks on Disarm.


Artist of the Week [3/29/13]: Psychopathic Daze

Another Chicago band has made it into the MusicTalker books, and rightfully so.  Psychopathic Daze offer a refreshing melodic death metal sound, somewhat reminiscent to the legendary Death as well as early In Flames and Children of Bodom, despite the lack of keyboards for the latter.  Although, the band’s bio does not delve that deeply into the sound of Psychopathic Daze.  It does, however, inform the reader of the band’s impressive résumé. Apparently, Psychopathic Daze have shared the stage with better known bands like As I Lay Dying, In Flames, Lamb of God, Between the Buried and Me, Hatebreed, and Sylosis, among others.

For their song, “End of Days,” Psychopathic Daze released a music video in April of 2012. While it is clearly a low-budget production, it is interesting to watch.  As the screen fades up from black, the viewer sees a herd of zombies from which the band members walk away with ease.  The next scene portrays the cliché portion of a hard rock/heavy metal music video where the band performs the song in an empty room.  In this case, PD are in a caged room while a living human runs away from the zombie herd.  Again, despite the fact that it is obviously low-budget and that it is probably not the most original concept, it works with the band’s image and music.

As for studio releases, Psychopathic Daze’s third effort, titled Ride This Bullet Home, will drop in late April.  After hearing the new EP, it can be said that these guys should be more well-known.  They are playing better metal music than a lot of the bands in the forefront of today’s modern metal scene.

For more information regarding Chicago’s Psychopathic Daze, check them out on Facebook.  Their official website is www.psychopathicdaze.com.  Stay tuned on their media platforms for their forthcoming release.

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If you know of any worthy musicians for MusicTalker’s “Artist of the Week” segment, send an email to themusictalker@gmail.com with band information.


In the Hot Seat: Denial Machine

The MusicTalker Twitter account recently gained a handful of followers, many of whom were bands.  One of these particular bands was Chicago, Illinois’ Denial Machine.  Shortly after returning their favor of following me on Twitter, the band posted a new song on Soundcloud. “Devil In My Veins” instantly caught my ear and I subsequently wrote a song review to chronicle my bright first impressions of Denial Machine.

Following my review, Denial Machine’s founder/guitarist/mastermind Mark Anderson agreed to answer some questions regarding the band’s formation, personal music preferences, and other topics of interest.  My conversation with Mark may be found below.

Additionally, I have heard the new material and recommend giving it a good, hard listen when it is released.  It is heavy yet very melodic, especially in terms of the vocals.  If you have heard their earlier music, the new songs have a very different approach and sound, as Mark expresses during the interview.

Mark Anderson; courtesy of Denial Machine Facebook page

What brought Denial Machine together as a band?

I started writing back in September of 2007 for a new project. I didn’t know who was going to be in it or what it would be called. I would write and record to my 8-track recorder with a drum machine. The majority of our first album and EP were written this way. After going through some growing pains line up wise, the initial line up for Denial Machine was solidified and officially began in February of 2009.

How prominent of a role do you believe your influences play in your music?

Not really sure. What inspires and influences me are often not what others say they hear in our music. With our brand new music we’ve taken a big leap of faith by trying something brand new and different from what anyone else is doing. I believe to make a true mark in music you have to stand out as something that is unique and something people can instantly identify as you!

What was the first concert you ever attended?

If I remember correctly it would have been Stryper, Loudness and TNT in Wisconsin in 1987 or 1988

Have you toured with any well-established acts? If so, whom?

We’ve done some one off shows with bands like Soil, Dirge Within, Otep and God Forbid. Tours are very expensive and being a band who does this on our own, at this point we are weekend warriors! Continue reading


[SONG REVIEW] Denial Machine – “Devil In My Veins”

Up-and-coming Chicago-based alternative metal act, Denial Machine, recently posted a new song on SoundCloud. Titled “Devil In My Veins,” the track is from the forthcoming EP, The Flagrum, The Scourge, set to drop this month.

Denial Machine vocalist Casey Lee Mullen has a similar style to Disturbed’s David Draiman with the range of a power metal singer. Combined with the instrumentation of a metalcore band, it would be predicted that this band may sound peculiar.  However, the mesh between the operatic Disturbed-esque vocals with the riffage of Killswitch Engage or All That Remains works well for Denial Machine.  There are also some thrash metal influences incorporated into “Devil In My Veins.”

Along with the precision and melodic heaviness, there is evident emotion poured into this song.  This band has a clear sense of passion which they have magnificently portrayed in this one song. This is the type of passion that can lead to a successful career in the music industry.

For more information about Denial Machine, see their Facebook and/or Twitter.


[REVIEW] Darkest Hour – “Severed Into Separates” [Music Video]

Darkest Hour’s new music video for their song, “Severed Into Separates,” off of their latest release, The Human Romance, debuted today on Metal Sucks.  This video used an entirely different approach than that of God Forbid’s video, which I recently reviewed.  Instead of having the band appear at all, Darkest Hour’s video was more focused on the story being portrayed.  This music video was actually more of a short silent film with “Severed Into Separates” acting as the score.  This was an interesting approach as it directed the attention toward the visuals rather than the typical focus on the audio.

Another positive aspect of this video is the production quality.  The footage has a better look than many Hollywood box office blockbusters.  The content, though, is quite confusing.  It is almost confusing enough that it makes sense.  The video itself is the most obscure film anyone could ever formulate in their extremely creative mind.

The only issue I have with this music video is the distance between the song and the film.  They feel very separate, but maybe that is what the band was looking for, hence the title.  Otherwise, Darkest Hour’s new music video is aesthetically pleasing and worth the view(s).


[REVIEW]: God Forbid – “Where We Come From” [Music Video]

“Where We Come From” was the first single off of God Forbid’s highly acclaimed 2012 release, Equilibrium.  With this release of this single came a music video on YouTube.  Through understanding the song title, listening to the lyrics, and watching the video, their message is clear.  They do a great job in conveying the message, too.

The video begins with the lead singer, Byron, waking up in bed with font on the bottom left-hand corner of the screen showing the time and place.  During this first scene and throughout the video, jump cuts are tastefully utilized.  They are used so well that they are almost unnoticeable, allowing the viewer to easily follow the story being portrayed.  This is because each jump cut is synchronized with the blast drum beats so exquisitely and precisely.  It is actually quite impressive.

Additionally, the story portrayed throughout the video accurately follows the lyrics of the song accompanying the video.  Whether Corey works/worked as a cook or Doc is/was a bartender, the video footage of them playing those roles helps to enhance the meaning of the lyrics, which should be the point of a music video.

It is a pleasant surprise when a metal band defies the norm in any way.  For instance, the typical heavy metal music video is simply footage of the band playing the song in a sometimes random setting.  Actually, that is the case for a lot of genres.  Still, God Forbid’s video for “Where We Come From” was very enjoyable and quite refreshing.  While they included a lot of footage of them playing the song live and in studio, it was necessary to fully cooperate with the overall song.  One of the smartest parts of making this video was including visuals of the very catchy guitar solo.  While it is important to capture the meaning of the song in the video, a solo is often one of the most important parts of a song.  Therefore, it is almost equally important to film the guitar solo, if applicable.

 

Check out the video for yourself and leave your personal opinion(s) in the comments section…

 


Tentative Best Metal Albums of the Year: 2009

 

I have compiled a tentative list of albums potentially worthy of the rank, “Best Rock/Metal Album of 2009.”  There are still a couple months left in 2009 and many albums still coming out, so this list may be further revised in the near future.

1. Megadeth –  ENDGAME

Endgame is a return to form for the thrash titans known as Megadeth.  The band sounds as tight as ever on this new release.  Endgame is Megadeth’s first release with the newly acquired Chris Broderick sharing guitar duties with the almighty Dave Mustaine.  The opening instrumental track, “Dialectic Chaos” is absolutely mesmerizing with the ongoing alternating guitar solos between Dave and Chris.  After a solid two and a half minutes of this mouth-watering guitar madness, it breaks right into “This Day We Fight!”  This second track is awesome and heavy.  The heaviness continues until “The Hardest Part of Letting Go… Sealed With A Kiss,” a ballad which still maintains some heaviness within it.  That is the softest track on the eleven song disc.  The next three songs keep the listener’s attention.  There really is no bad song on this masterpiece.  This could very well be Megadeth’s best album of all-time.

2. Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know

It should be common knowledge that the Black Sabbath boys reunited with Ronnie James Dio in 2007 after being separated for fifteen years.  After touring for a solid two years, the reunited metal gods decided to create some new tunes.  The Devil You Know is the result of the quartet’s re-acquired energy and musical passion.  This 2009 release was the fourth release with this Black Sabbath lineup but the first under the name Heaven & Hell.  It is a solid album top to bottom.  It proves that the metal founders still have it after all these years.  Dio’s voice is as strong as ever at sixty-seven years young.  Iommi’s deep, heavy riffs and Geezer’s bass lines are very reminiscent of old school Dio-era Sabbath.  Actually, The Devil You Know is probably the heaviest release from this unstoppable Sabbath lineup.  As with Megadeth’s Endgame, H&H’s The Devil You Know does not contain one unsatisfactory song.

3. Alice In Chains – Black Gives Way To Blue

After lead singer Layne Staley died of a drug overdose in April of 2002, Alice In Chains disappeared for several years.  The band then rose from the ashes with new singer William DuVall to release a killer record that holds the vintage AiC sound.  While the controversy over the band going on without Layne persists, it is and has always been Jerry Cantrell’s band.  Also, Jerry paid obvious tribute to his fallen friend in the title track, “Black Gives Way To Blue.”  The entire album, though, is basically a tribute to Layne in the sense that it is very reminiscent and reflective of the great work he did while with Alice In Chains.

4. August Burns Red – Constellations

This Christian metalcore band is tight all around, but their 2009 release was just phenomenal.  Everything about it screams “Masterpiece.”  From the rare bit of clean vocals toward the end of “Indonesia” to the instrumental “Meridian” and everything in between, Constellations just does not stop its astonishment.  ABR’s Constellations is highly recommended to all metalheads out there and can be categorized as an album you can’t put down.  From top to bottom, this record is just great.

5. Shadows Fall – Retribution

Shadows Fall’s new album is awesome.  I have never been a die-hard Shadows Fall fan, but I cannot seem to stop listening to Retribution – it’s just that good!  The guitar work is great and Brian Fair’s voice sounds good for a lot of the time.  The single off the album, “Still I Rise,” is an awesome track and has everything any fan would want from the band.  This 2009 release is a great return to form for the Massachusetts metalcore band and is probably my favorite Shadows Fall CD already.


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