The 2015 terrorist attacks on Paris affected not just the iconic French city but the globe, and not just the the ever-turbulent political sphere but the music industry as well. Since acts of terror have become an unfortunately common occurrence in our modern world, we’ve heightened security at large, international events like the Olympics and international hubs of transport such as airports. However, the tragedy that occurred at a concert at the Bataclan was tragic for more than the obvious reason. For many in the music community, like Fit For A King, it was traumatic because it attacked what is supposed to be a safe haven away from all of the horror of the world.
As the name implies, Deathgrip is almost exclusively about mortality, anguish, fear and terror – and it’s a grand time. The chilling intro sets the tone for what is a sheer mosh-fest conducted by the reaper himself for the whole length of the album.
In the cozy, dim, musty room known as The Studio at Webster Hall, a frenzied soldout crowd gathered on December 12th to let loose and blow off steam to the varying hardcore sounds of Kublai Khan, Fit For An Autopsy, Counterparts and The Acacia Strain on their Tune Low Die Slow Tour. Leaving out the inefficiency of the venue’s staff, which kept concert goers waiting to enter for over forty five minutes, The Studio is the perfect host for shows like this. There was no shortage of stage climbers, crowd surfers and mic grabbers. The low, crowded stage and the lack of barricades help make shows here intimate, family affairs.
My night began with Kublai Khan, although local New York band Newcomer was supposed to have played ahead of them. I will never know. The opinionated Texan band named after a merciless Mongol emperor blasted their hopeful message of change and togetherness without over-the-top showmanship. As much as I love watching manic stage antics, Matt Honeycutt’s (vocals) onstage presence is enough to hold anyone’s attention without it. This band is about what needs to be said, and Honeycutt says it well. Bodies went flying and when Kublai Khan performed “Color Code” there could not have been more energy flowing through The Studio.
Fit For An Autopsy came on next and the room could not have felt smaller. The eclectic combination of deathcore blast beats and melodic death metal grooves saw the pit expand and consume the vast majority of the space. You could feel the anger radiating from it and the stage. There was no room in The Studio for anything other than the palpable disgust in humanity that is a mainstay in FFAA’s music.
Fit For An Autopsy’s endurance is remarkable. Joe Badolato (vocals) steadily released thunderous low growls as his bandmates furiously played their speeding instrumentals through the set with minimal pauses, one of which was to call a fight that had broken out as “pussy shit” that no one wanted to see, and another to announce “Out to Sea” to a cheering crowd.
The cheers continued as the lively, bouncy Counterparts excited The Studio with their relentless energy and upbeat sounds. I didn’t know what to expect from the Canadians, but I wasn’t disappointed. Their metalcore sounds were in cheery (well, cheerier) opposition to the lower, heavier bands before them. The most impressive aspect of their set was the crowd’s insanity. I can’t remember the last time I saw a band that wasn’t headlining make the entire venue move.
The crowd turned it up almost to the ceiling when Massachusetts deathcore veterans The Acacia Strain unleashed their hopeless, godless and ruthless auditory punishment. Vincent Bennett (vocals) lugged around the stage with an empty, crazed stare spitting up and down, throwing water on the crowd. When he spoke between songs he sounded honest and caring. During songs, he was the embodiment of hate. When he bellowed, “I am the end of the world,” he was surrounded by fans on stage shouting it as rabidly as he was. Other songs played were recent and old favorites including “JFC” and “4×4” as well as songs from Coma Witch. When you’re only playing hits the crowd, will always lose their shit.
Bennett walked off stage leaving the rest of the band to cool down the crowd with instrumentals. As I walked out I passed a guy with a blood-covered fist showing a friend, claiming none of the blood was his. That’s what an evening in a cramped room with hardcore bands will do to you. The tour is now over, but three out of the four bands are on the rise. Keep an eye out for Kublai Khan, Fit For An Autopsy, and Counterparts while you continue enjoying The Acacia Strain.
by David Marulanda
We’ve featured The Animal In Me on here before for the same reason we’re doing it now: They make some kick ass covers of mainstream hits. Their latest cover is of Adele’s ultra popular “Hello.” Now, while Adele’s original is great in its own right, this heavy take on the song offers some awesome new depth. With The Animal In Me‘s cover, you not only get a full band sound and some backing screams for more edge, but there’s the added layer of having both a female and male vocalist. They take turns with some of the verses, and it adds an intriguing call-and-answer dimension to the break up anthem. Check out their live recording video of “Hello” below and jam out to the rest of their songs while you’re at it!
Some weeks ago, Underoath announced they were coming back from the dead for their Rebirth Tour in 2016. Needless to say, everyone who grew up on this band and spilled countless tears when they disappeared nearly died of happiness at this announcement. But Underoath have impacted more than the average concert goer. Many bands in the scene today continue to be influenced by the monumental group, such as I The Mighty who have just put out an acoustic cover of Underoath’s song “Writing On The Walls.” In the video below, the band explain that the reason for the cover is to celebrate Underoath’s reunion. Check it out, and watch Underoath’s original music video after to compare!
Rise Records new addition, Cane Hill, finally released their self-titled EP after such a long wait. Their single “Sunday School” originally came out just over a year ago, although it’s only been in the past few months that the band released two other singles, “Ox Blood” and “Time Bomb.” Yet despite the time it took for the album to be released, it’s finally in our grasp and is worth checking out.
Only a 7 track album, Cane Hill’s self-titled EP is quite refreshing. It starts off with “Ox Blood”—fast, heavy and chaotic. The riffs and guitars of “Time Bomb” have some real weight behind them, giving the listener the fuel to thrash around and break shit. The vocals have some nice range as well, for Elijah Witt varies between low-toned spoken word sections followed by a mix between mid and low pitched screaming. For most of their songs, this kind of vocal variation gives a nice dark and twisted feel, especially with the lyrical content.
It’s the following songs that demonstrate their “Nü” side. Both “Screwtape” and “Gemini” have an extreme Korn vibe and the influence is easily noticeable. It works well in their favor and it’s not overused as they still maintain their own sound. These two songs also feature clean singing which is surprising since the three singles released showed no signs that actual singing would be involved in the album. Yet the revival of these old school metal vibes is refreshing and haunting. That being said, I wish there was more of it. Only having 7 tracks is disappointing, especially since there are some real quality songs on this album including “French 75.” This song actually features all cleans and Witt even has a similar sound to Chris Motionless of Motionless In White (which could also be compared to Marilyn Manson). “French 75” also has an unspecified guest female vocalist who not only has a beautiful voice, but is the star of the song and makes it worth replaying. The album concludes with two heavier songs, “The Fat of the Land” and “Sunday School,” which are both solid tracks to get the listener pumped. Ironically, when “Sunday School” comes to a conclusion with the lyrics “It never ends,” it actually does end the album.
Although the Cane Hill EP is short in length, it doesn’t take away from the quality of each song. Whether it’s the heavy bangers (“Time Bomb,” “The Fat of the Land”) or even Korn-esque songs (“Screwtape,” “Gemini”), Cane Hill has versatility and a fresh take while dipping into the past for inspiration. The EP is filled with surprises, and while I understand they want each song to have a sense of individuality, additional songs in similar styles of what was already shown could have made this album a more fulfilling and less jarring one. Cane Hill’s self-titled EP is not for everyone, especially since it’s a bit outside of the box, yet those who enjoy Nü-metal or just dark and twisted music will appreciate this new release.
by Justin LaMot
If Halloween isn’t your favorite holiday, you’re just not brutal enough. Here are 13 spooky, gory, and all-around badass tracks for you to get your creep on. And if your favorite horror-themed song isn’t on this list, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear what you’re listening to this fall.
Read the full interview transcript below.
HXC: How’s Mayhem been for you so far?
Tyler Dennen: Really cool. Definitely the coolest tour we’ve ever done.
You’ve been playing a lot of new songs from your latest record, The Lovers//The Devil. How’s that been?
Really good. It’s definitely been an interesting and challenging experience because the music is a little bit harder to pull off live. We’re doing it every day. We practice a lot beforehand. So I’m feeling pretty confident about it.
It’s a very complex album. It has a large duality to it. Could you give us a brief explanation of that?
Well, the whole idea is that it’s a split CD–the first half being the lovers, the second half being the devil. And the music, lyrics and story are supposed to reflect upon that change. So the first half of the CD is less aggressive and more towards the melodic side. The story follows the male and female lead where the first half, the male is the lover and the female is the devil and it switches. Throughout the record that switch happens slowly until midway and then reverse. And then the devil’s side musically is supposed to be heavier and more dark sounding. Heavier, lower tuned, more drone-y kind of stuff than the first half.
And what were some of the major musical influences for the album.
I can’t speak too much on the music side of it because I didn’t write any of the music. But lyrically, inspiration for me aside from personal experience and things that I was going through, the band My Chemical Romance is always really inspirational to me. And the band Thrice.
Why did you want to utilize more clean vocals this time?
It was just something we’ve always wanted to get into. Going that route really opens you up to a much larger audience and singing is something I’d rather be doing more than screaming. So just trying to usher in that age of kind of [headed] more toward the mainstream, for lack of better terms, kind of slowly.
A lot of the lyrics have these whimsical, almost child-like rhymes that you play upon. What made you want to do that?
I thought it would be kind of cool to put some ironic twists on the lyrics and song names because it would kind of lessen how intense it really is. Kind of like make it easier to digest.
What would you say is your favorite track?
You just did a video for that as well. How was the video shoot?
It was cool. It was very, very, very last minute, but I think it came together really well.
Your first full-length, The Death Card (XIII) as well as the new one both utilize tarot cards. What’s your fascination with tarot cards?
When I came back to the band, which was before we put out The Death Card, our guitar player Zak [Gibson] and I decided that it would be cool to go down the route with tarot cards because we really liked the imagery on them, the art on them, and the fact that the meanings behind them aren’t necessarily verbatim. You can kind of take what you want from it, which is something I really try to strive for with our music.
If you could be any tarot card, what would you be?
I would definitely be The Fool. That’s kind of what I was looking at for the next CD.
What kind of musical directions are you thinking of going in for your next record?
Not a fucking clue.
Do you think it’s going to be a concept again?
I kind of want to steer away from conceptual records, to be honest with you. I don’t feel like I really know what I’m doing enough as a person who’s trying to convey a story and write lyrics. I don’t think I have the correct rhetoric to be able to really solidly put down a story out there. So I think I’d rather take myself a little bit less seriously and just get what’s in my heart and chest out, rather than being stuck to the guideline of a story.
What would happen if the zombie apocalypse happened right now? How far would you guys make it?
My band? [Laughs] We would die pretty damn quick.
What would your weapon of choice on this bus be?
[Picks up free weight] Throw one, then run away.
How would you describe your genre? You guys are kind of all over the place, in a really cool way.
I would say emotional more than anything. I don’t wanna say ‘emo’ because we’re not like that, but my main prerogative in this band is to get people to feel something. When it comes down to the lyrics and the music I think all we’re trying to do is put emotion into something tangible. So that would probably be the genre, I would say. Emotional.
Out of all the bands on Mayhem Fest, who’s been your favorite to watch?
I love watching Thy Art Is Murder. We love those guys.
If you could bring one record with you on a deserted island, what would it be?
I’d probably say Vheissu by Thrice.
So what exactly have you guys “sworn in” to?
Doing this. Travelling and doing music, I guess that’s the only thing. And we’ve got a bunch of contracts so I guess that’s kind of like being sworn in.
Where’s your favorite place you’ve played so far?
I really, really like playing all of the west coast—California, Washington, Oregon. I also really like Louisville, Kentucky and Texas is always great, too.
If you could describe your time on Mayhem in one word, what would it be?
Interview by Natasha (a.k.a. Mascot) Van Duser
Struck by the success of their 2010 Zombie EP, The Devil Wears Prada have returned to the short format with another themed work. This time around it’s the Space EP, and it’s their signature heaviness reinvented and deepened; their most sophisticated release yet. From the first 45 seconds of astronaut radio chatter in opener “Planet A” to the swirling, definitive end of final track “Asteroid,” the band stick to their theme exceedingly well, recreating the vast expanse and boggling implications of space within the strict boundaries of six songs.
With the launch of (or rather, toward) “Planet A,” we experience profound curiosity and longing (“Mankind searched the universe/Curiosity can be a curse”), while “Alien” is the rager fans of old expect from this band. The song is threaded with the sound effects of a sci-fi mission (mechanical bleepings, artillery fire) without sounding too campy, and the lyrics are appropriately vicious and dark. This one shuts down all possibility of escape with chugging verses and racing choruses, finally stating, “Game over/We are done for.”
The EP moves in a more emotional direction with “Moongod,” a troubled, humbling display of worship for a divine being. Vocalist Mike Hranica cries, “Watch over me/Inspect my mistakes/Like a beacon, necessitate my regret.” The song transitions into the interlude of “Celestial Mechanics,” which is exactly what the title sounds like–more sci-fi sounds and chatter mixed with atmospheric guitars. A necessary breath, but world-building.
The EP’s first single, “Supernova,” is the clear anchor. The very tangible concerns in this one combined with the solid riffing hold down the loftier parts of the EP. The familiar, heart-wrenching question we all know repeats again and again: “Where will you go? Where will you be?/When you forever sleep, when you leave me.”
Though picking a favorite song from the Space EP may be difficult, picking a favorite moment is simple. When “Asteroid” slows to a crawl for Hranica’s talk-screaming, it’s a turn that will stop you dead in your tracks: “Think of best friends/Think of strangers/Think of lovers/Think of foes/Think of children/Think of family/Keep in mind that nothing stays.” The candid words build, chanting carries on in the background, and the standout vocals become more desperate. Sound is complexly layered until it all just ends.
The Devil Wears Prada’s newest release is contemplative, heavy, and well-crafted, lending to the very real sense of life and death. Surely, if the Zombie EP solidified the band’s domain on terra firma, the Space EP catapults them well past the stars.
Who at one point or another hasn’t wanted to shout “I hate everyone/I hate everything” at the top of their lungs? Miss May I take care of that deep-seated urge in the fiery opening track of Deathless (“I.H.E.”), and it’s a visceral ride from there until the guitars fade out at the end of the final song.
Without question, Deathless is an adrenaline rush. The instrumentals are as deadly as ever and songs like “Trust My Heart (Never Hope To Die)” and the title track bring the intensity you crave from a heavy record. But that’s to be expected of a band like Miss May I by now. What’s surprisingly well done is the way the band manage to flesh out their rage while managing to remain vulnerable. “Psychotic Romance” ventures into the poetic when Levi Benton screams, “I’m not worthy of such beauty/I’m not worthy of a love like this.” “Empty Promises” confronts disappointment with the words “You always let me down” in an instant that’s more sad than aggressive. These noticeably softer moments add much needed depth to the record, rounding out the full meaning of what it is to carry so much resentment. Simply, you can’t have true rage without admitting pain.
Though some of the songs can blur together, one that sticks out is the closing track, “Born From Nothing.” The introductory guitar riff that runs throughout the song is as catchy as the “To hell I was!” that repeatedly shouts back an answer to the title. Under this rallying cry, Miss May I end the 10-track effort proving that Deathless is ferocious, inspirational, and above all, real.