NEW MUSIC: OC metalcore mainstays ATREYU have shared the video for the new song "Save Us," - LISTEN + WATCH IT HERE
OC metalcore mainstays ATREYU have shared the video for the new song "Save Us," which was produced by John Feldmann.
"'Save Us' is not only a reflection of where we are musically, but also a mirror to the world in this ominous moment in time," the band says. "We chose to pair the powerful message with one of the heavier songs we've ever written. This song feels like the anthem that we all need right now. To us, it's a call to action to light the fire in ourselves. We can begin to make great change — but only if we look inside first."
With singer Alex Varkatzas recently departing, drummer and clean vocalist Brandon Saller will move into the frontman role. Guitarist Porter McKnight is now handling the harsh vocals, while Kyle Rosa joins the ranks as drummer.
Atreyu are working on their eighth album, which will be released via Spinefarm Records. "Save Us" will appear on the record.
NEW MUSIC: Chicago based grunge infused, heavy rock trio DEAD ORIGINAL has released the official music video for their new single, "Restrained," the third track off of their upcoming, debut LP, Bought and Sold. - LISTEN TO IT HERE
Chicago based grunge infused, heavy rock trio DEAD ORIGINAL has released the official music video for their new single, "Restrained," the third track off of their upcoming, debut LP, Bought and Sold. Front-man and lead guitarist Paul Wandtke (ex Trivium, Rock of Ages), bassist Mike Petrasek (BEDLEM), and drummer Sean McCole are releasing their debut album on Nov 13th via InGrooves under the direction of Dennis Sanders. The album features 13 original tracks self produced by the band.
“We wrote and tracked ‘Restrained’ as well as the whole album, Bought and Sold, at my home music studio at The Music Garage in Chicago, IL. I engineered it and wrote most of it before finding Mike Petrasek and Sean McCole. We think fans of grunge will appreciate this effort” ~ Paul Wandtke
INTERVIEW: Stephanie Stevens talks with THEM guitarist Markus Johannson about where the band started from, touring with Helloween and his favorite tracks off the new album - READ IT HERE
BY STEPHANIE STEVENS
THEM a German/American theatrical heavy metal band comprised of Klaus Konig—vocals, Markus Ullrich-guitar, Markus Johansson-guitar, Mike Lepond—bass, Angel Cotte-drums and Richard Seibel-keys are making waves with the bands metal roots and horror/fantasy epic conceptual tale that began with the band’s debut disc, SWEET HOLLOW and follow up MANOR OF THE SE7EN GABLES.
A lyrical story of a man caught between unfortunate circumstances and unspeakable evil. On Oct. 30th, 2020 the story continues with the third installment entitled RETURN TO HEMMERSMOOR on SPV/Steamhammer. The band hits you hard with layers of pure power metal, guitar aggressive ambiance, thrash elements and progressive metal attributes. With BATTLE BLOOD, the first single/video out for your listening ears you can hear the maturity and growth the band has produced with writing this new album. I think it’s just the ice breaker of some intense, impeccable and diverse playing from this globally enriched band.
I had a chance to speak with guitar player Phenom, Markus Johansson about where the band started from, touring with Helloween, and his favorite tracks off the new album.
Q: For music fans who might be new to the band THEM can you tell me what inspired you guys to start a project like this and personally what did this band help enhance in your guitar playing?
A: The band was originally a King Diamond tribute act, THEM being the name of one of King's all time legendary albums. Our singer Troy (KK) wanted to take things to the next level with originals, and he then started to build what would become the current formation of the band. As far as guitar skill enhancement, ULLE and I are both cut from the same mold, so we love the same things, and want to play the same things more or less, haha. That said, you cannot be in this band if you don't stay on top of your shit.
Q: your debut album SWEET HOLLOW was a concept album, who came up with the story idea and how is writing an album conceptually different than just writing a record with songs on it?
A: Our singer Troy (KK) writes all of the lyrics which have now become one gigantic story spanning all three of our albums. The new record RETURN TO HEMMERSMOOR, is the third installment of the story that begins with SWEET HOLLOW. Not having written it personally, but having written lyrics for a multitude of songs I've released over the years, writing a concept album, let alone one continuous trilogy is no easy task.
Q: BATTLE BLOOD gives you a small taste of the new disc, what made you guys choose this one as the first “single”?
A: The band and the record label felt that "FREE" was a song that could stand on its own and help to showcase the identity that the band has carved out for itself. Also, we are fairly versatile in our songwriting across the albums, so there are always going to be ballad type songs and then straight rippers. "BATTLE BLOOD" being a straight ripper, it was a great juxtaposition to leading with "FREE."
Q: Would you define this song the meat and potatoes of the album or is it just one layer of what the rest of the album has in store?
A: The singles are really the tip of the iceberg, they are not paving the way for replicates. There are plenty of differing songs on the album, and I can't wait for people to hear the ENTIRE thing.
Q: Do you have a favorite off track off the album and if so what makes it a stand out for you?
A: "BATTLE BLOOD" is absolutely one of my favorites, as it's loaded with riff and riffs that is a blast to play, and there are some fun leads as well. That said, I think "WAKEN" might be my favorite-favorite, but I won't give away why. No spoilers!
Q: As a band how can you say you guys have grown in songwriting since the bands inception?
A: The first album was deliberately what some may call King Diamond worship, so the material was really one gigantic tribute. Very similar to how Gruesome pays homage to Death. Each album has morphed and grown as we have played together over the years, and we are pretty far from King Diamond these days, but the visuals and overall aesthetic seem to distort that a little.
Q: You also are band members that are globally located how does that make for interaction for promotions like videos etc. and also when it comes to writing it must be done all via internet. Do you find a heavy difference from doing it this way vs. having jam sessions to hash out ideas?
A: We are gigantic fans of how we write and file share the songs as we build each album. The process is super refined, and we have no issues with recording individually and remote, as needed. Everyone knows the very deliberate needs of the albums, so we lay everything out first, and then attack it. Everyone does their homework, so we have zero issues. It's such a solid crew.
Q: The band had the pleasure to tour with Helloween. On that tour did you guys learn anything from them or given any advice? If so, do you still use that to this day?
A: The tour with Helloween was a phenomenal way to start the band off and running. If I learned anything from Helloween on that tour, it is to FLY from show to show when the dates jump from Chicago, to Seattle, to Los Angeles! Haha, it was a lot of driving. But no, they were great, and it was great to watch them every night.
Q: If you could take yourself away from being a musician and just look at music as a fan what personally makes a well thought out and solid album to you? And what is your number one record that you’re a fan of that comes to mind when answering this?
A: As a fan, the best kind of album is one you can repeatedly revisit and continually hear new things that you missed before. Layered, epic, thought out. Sometimes less is more, but when the entire album has a continuous vibe, regardless of conceptual things, it is more enjoyable for me. It is way too difficult to narrow down a definitely number one favorite, but one that fits this mold perfectly is Opeth's Blackwater Park. Phenomenal songs, phenomenal production. Holds up every listen.
Q: It always intrigues me when a guitar player like yourself can play so fast and intricate. Do you have certain warmup techniques you do before shows/writing? And best advice to give any new musician starting out on guitar?
A: Before shows it can obviously be beneficial to warm up and run some scales, stretch out, etc. Sometimes though, with the way the scheduling goes, you don't always have the time right beforehand. Playing every day on the road helps, whenever you can find the time.
Q: Growing up did you listen to a lot of European music?
A: Without really having a specific desire to seek out European music, but it certainly found me, and one band lead to five lead to fifty. There are so many great bands from multiple genres, from multiple countries, but people seem to say I maintain a strong European influence when I write songs, or leads, or solos.
Q: How do you view the European music scene vs. American music scene and vice versa from what you have seen touring there?
A: Europe is a whole different world when it comes to the music industry, but they both have their merits. With THEM we have played in Europe almost entirely, only having our short run in the states with Helloween. One thing I will say is that Europe seems to juggle multiple genres in the mainstream, whereas the US charts are majorly pop, etc.
Q: Any other new stuff going on with THEM other than the release on Oct. 30th of RETURN TO HEMMERSMOOR? Also drop how fans get pre order this album and buy all over merchandise and music by you guys?
A: We are always hard at work cultivating the live show, set lists, new songs, etc. We can't wait for people to hear the new record, and then the next most exciting thing is seeing where we end up taking the next one. Fans can pre-order across all platforms, Amazon, directly from Steamhammer, iTunes, etc. At the end of the day, we update our social media with links that will take you where you need to go. That or our website will get you set up!
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NEW MUSIC: Connecticut based metal band DEAD BY WEDNESDAY Reveals First Single, “S.O.S.,” Featuring New Vocalist - WATCH IT HERE
Connecticut-based metal band DEAD BY WEDNESDAY has revealed a video for the crushing new track “S.O.S.,” the first single to feature new vocalist Steve Alvarez.
The video, directed by Alex Vazquez/AVArtdigital, is available today, exclusively via Metal Insider at https://www.metalinsider.net/video/video-premiere-dead-by-wednesday-s-o-s. The single is also available now at DEAD BY WEDNESDAY’s Bandcamp page at https://deadbywednesday.bandcamp.com/track/s-o-s.
“S.O.S” is a throwback to the angst-ridden roots of early DEAD BY WEDNESDAY releases like Democracy is Dead and The Killing Project while channeling the today’s frustration with the state of the world. “We are legitimately pissed,” says drummer Opus. “Frustrations are high for musicians, as well as most people around the world, and we use our music as an outlet. That's why it really sounds angry - because we are! We've also come to realize who we are as a band during this unwanted time off, so we went deep and heavy! It's fast, lean and mean - perfect for the times.”
With the current struggles as not only Americans but as humans of this world, the message of “S.O.S.” encapsulates the general outcry for help from all people. With both money and the media running the world, DEAD BY WEDNESDAY felt a message needed to be sent to the people that this is a turning point in history.
“’S.O.S.’ also shows brotherhood among different races,” Opus says. “It has a strong message. I believe this tune will not only attract a whole new audience, but I also feel like this will please some of the old school DEAD BY WEDNESDAY fans as well.”
“S.O.S.” was produced and mastered by Nick Bellmore (Dee Snider, Jasta) at Dexter's Lab Studios, Milford, CT.
Established in 2006, DEAD BY WEDNESDAY quickly caught the attention of Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, who went on to release their debut through his Stillborn Records label. The band has released one EP and four full-length albums, including Darkest of Angels (EMP Label Group), which featured an impressive list of guest vocalists. The quartet’s latest release, the self-titled Dead By Wednesday, was released last year via the newly revamped Combat Records, a division of EMP.
Opus and guitarist Dave Sharpe, who also serve as touring members of Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson’s solo band, will once again join forces with Ellefson for three “End of Days 2020” festival dates with Saliva, A Killer's Confession, The Crowned and many more.
End of Days 2020 dates:
Friday, October 30 – San Antonio, TX @ Sunset Station
Saturday, October 31 – Slidell, LA @ Brown's Village Plaza
Sunday, November 1 – Seabrook, TX @ Barge 295
DEAD BY WEDNESDAY is:
Steve Alvarez - Vocals
Opus - Drums
Mike Modeste - Bass
Dave Sharpe - Guitar
DEAD BY WEDNESDAY online:
INTERVIEW: Stephanie Stevens talks to The Veer Union guitarist Ryan Ramsdell about the bands new music, what the band has been doing during the Pandemic and what band they would love to cover - READ IT HERE
By: Stephanie Stevens
Let me start off by saying this THE VEER UNION is the most underrated band out there!! The showmanship, the songwriting abilities, the musicianship and the integrity this band has is breathtaking to say the least. Just take a minute and sit with the songs they create and the bands discography; dive into the lyrics and listen to the brotherhood you feel in the music, it’s pretty mind blowing and refreshing.
THE VEER UNION came onto the scene in 2004 from Vancouver. They released their first independent album “TIME TO BREAK THE SPELL” in 2006 under the name Veer. That was the start of getting people’s attention. In 2008 they became THE VEER UNION and landed a deal with Universal Records. The band’s first single “SEASONS” was a smash hit on radio from Canada and the US. Since 2008 the band have collectively sold over 100,00 albums and have reached 30 million streams worldwide. 7 tops 40 singles on the Billboard Rock Radio charts, and they continue to grow in numbers and in talent. You might ask yourself that sounds impressive and why did you say they are underrated? To me this band should be bigger and more well-known especially in the States I feel like they deserve more than they have been given even though what they have accomplished is pretty stellar.
The band is gearing up to unleash a Quarantine inspired Ep in 2021 with a multitude of Collaborations and gave the fans and music fans worldwide a sneak peek with a track that is the most socially conscious song/video to date for the band “SLAVES TO THE SYSTEM” featuring West Virginia rockers, Defending Cain. A rocker of a song, anthem empowered, aggressive and heavy power, the uniting of these two bands just accelerate the song to even a higher level.
I had a chance to speak with guitarist Ryan Ramsdell about the new song, “SLAVES TO THE SYSTEM”, where he sees Rock Shop Records (rockshoprecords.net) in 5 years and what he hopes people remember about THE VEER UNION.
Q: Seeing how 2020 has panned out as of now it was a no brainer a song like SLAVES OF THE SYSTEM was written. What was the breaking point for you guys to finally say it’s time to use our voices?
A: STTS was actually an idea that started in late 2019, with the initial context being that of online privacy with big tech, it was essentially expanding on the topic we touched on in our previous song “Living Not Alive”. As the song began to develop further in very early 2020, the chorus lyrics were written with that topic still being the emphasis, then the pandemic broke out. About two months into the pandemic the song was completed but with the state of uncertainty in the world, the shutdown of the entire economy, we put the release on pause to see how everything was going to play out. Then the riots happened... We felt it only strengthened our message. Eventually we were like "ok we've got to get back to releasing new music"... TVU has never been a political band but with the state of the world in regards to the economy, the non-stop emphasis of division engulfing everything, we just thought if there was ever a right time for us to release the song it was now.
Q:Was there a conversation with the guys in Defending Cain about the song topic and did you guys collaboration on the identity of the vibe n tone of the track and why did you choose them?
A: Actually yes there was. The pandemic had just hit. We had a brief discussion about how we didn’t want the song to be about Right or Left politics, we wanted it to be about unity, about all of us every day working people. Brandon threw down his tracks and sent them to us and we were like “WOW, he knocked it out of the park!” So, we went with it.
Q: What has been the hardest part to swallow looking over what is going on in the world these days?A: Outside of the economic shut down the hardest part is the constant dwelling and fixation on the division.
Q: Being a biracial band, did you guys ever have situations where people just didn't accept you because of it?
A: Absolutely not! We have always felt welcomed by the other bands and race has never been an issue. There have certainly been times where we have encountered racism on our journeys while traveling but it certainly hasn’t been inherent or often. We have had overwhelmingly great experiences.
Q: You guys are releasing an EP in 2021 which will have the platform song “SLAVES TO THE SYSTEM” on it. The interesting thing is the multi collaborations with other artists. How did you decide on what artists to work with?
A: Yes we are. Well, you just try to imagine who’s voices would sound the best with the style and feel of the song and then it's a matter of reaching out and who’s willing and available.
Q: Online communication-songwriting, is this normal for you guys and if not what obstacles did arise with it?
A: No it's not the usual way and that's the main obstacle. We’ve never worked online but so far so good!
Q: During quarantine, you guys have released some killer covers. Will we see a cover disc Part 2?
A: Thanks so much! Yes, at some point it will be but that will most likely be when we go back out on tour.
Q: What do you love most about interpreting another artists creation and is there always a back story of certain songs you pick?
A: In regards to interpreting another artist's creation, like everyone else, we are fans of music. The best part of the interpretation is that you get to decide how it applies to you. In regards to the songs going out for the collaboration, we already have a theme and an idea as a reference point so that the song has a coherent message.
Q: If you could pick any artist to cover one of your songs what artist would it be?
A: Oh man that's tough. Tool/A Perfect Circle or Deftones.
Q: RockShop Records, is in a way the child for THE VEER UNION, Was this a bucket list dream you had and where do you see the company in the next 5 years?
A: Crispin and I are Co-Owners of RSR. Crispin is CEO, Marketing Director and the in house Producer. Crispin had the idea many years ago and it's come to fruition over the past few years.
We want to work with and develop new artists and vastly grow their reach while maintaining great relationships with them. We want our label to be a good experience for our artists, a place where they feel heard and also develop them in ways that their core essence/vision of their project remains intact. It's very important to us that they are happy and feel like part of the family. Hopefully in 5 years our label will have grown enough and we will have attained enough success that more established acts will look at RSR and want to be a part of what we’re doing. We’ve been very fortunate to have achieved what we have with TVU and we want to continue to be a part of the music world after our touring days in TVU are done or diminished.
Q: What do you hope people will remember most about your art/music?
A: TVU has always been about hope. We are so incredibly fortunate to have connected with the amount of people we have over the years and throughout the years we have received incredible messages about how our songs have helped people get through difficult times in their lives. We’ve always created music because it's what we love and need to do for ourselves, but hearing people's personal stories about how they’ve connected with our songs is one of the most rewarding things you can imagine. We hope that our music will be remembered as a positive message that helps people believe in themselves and want to help others around them. As long as people have hope, they will always want to keep growing, keep striving and keep living. The world is a better place when people have hope, if we can be remembered for adding to that in hope in some small way, that would be amazing.
Q: If you could give people struggling with finding a passion they love to do, what advice would you tell them?
A: Look at the things that make you happy, that make you smile, that want to make you get up in the morning. Don’t worry too much about what other people say or think about you, your life is yours and you never know when your life or health will be taken. The balance between happiness and commerce is often very difficult for the vast majority of people. You always need money but money comes and goes and when you make the jump to the afterlife, your soul is the only thing coming with you. Respect your soul, feed it with things that bring you joy, believe in yourself. Have faith, follow your heart and keep in mind that some of the most miserable people out there are people with money and some of the happiest are those that have almost none.
Q: Empower another artist by telling us someone u admire and why you admire them?
A: We admire all you young kids coming up playing rock/hard rock and metal and pushing the boundaries by blending new sounds, new textures and breathing new life into the Hardrock/Metal genre. Keep going, keep pushing, keep dreaming and for god's sake, keep working as hard as you possibly can without giving up because without you, the craft will die.
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INTERVIEW: Stephanie Stevens talks to Nonpoint drummer Robb Rivera about the bands 20th Anniversary, who he looks up to, his Robbcast Podcast and MORE! - LISTEN TO IT HERE
BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
The rock community got a gift when the band NONPOINT emerged 20 years ago with the debut album STATEMENT. On this anniversary year the band is gifting the music world with a very special live stream performance of the album on Oct 10th, 2020. To be a part of this go to www.nonpoint.com to grab your tickets and relive the impact of what this album did to the rock world.
Robb Rivera, drummer of the band and founding member has also impacted the world with his driving, powerful and passionate drumming technique and solid and energy driven live show vibe. While the impact that 2020 has put on musicians worldwide, this guy has not only been in full writing mode with the band he has enhanced his podcast, revamped his clothing line stand strong clothing company and has started a youtube channel of drumming covers.
I had the ability to talk to this talented human about it all. Read on to find out more about this drummer, entrepreneur and the band he has put his heart n soul into.
Q: What intrigued you about the drums that made you want to make this a career for you?
A: Honestly, just loved music. After seeing that first band (Cardinal Sun) at a friends party, I knew right then and there what I wanted.
Q: What was the first song you learned to play on drums?
A:I Love Rock n Roll by Joan Jett
Q: If you could learn another instrument what would it be and why?
A: Well my first instrument was guitar. I also play bass, percussion and some keyboard:
Q: Who is a drummer you currently look up to and what is it about them you like?
A: Neil Peart (RIP) from Rush will always be that guy. Just loved what he did with the songs.
Q: If you have met that person you look up to what is one thing you took away from that conversation with them?
A: When I met Vinnie Paul, he told me to have fun with the drums. Not over play and play for the song.
Q: You currently started doing drum covers on your youtube channel. Going into different genres of music how is this enhancing your drum technique?
A: Don’t think it has enhanced anything technical wise: I am just having fun playing them. I get to be creative on other people’s work.
Link to youtube:
Q: How can you define the journey your band NONPOINT has had all these years? And is there one highlight that still humbles you knowing ur artistry has moved a music community?
A: Endurance. We have been to hell and back many times. Playing the Ozzfest in 2001 is still my brother guest highlight: a summer I will never forget:
Q: Is NONPOINT working on new material for a future release and how has the music grown?
A: We are always writing no matter what: we have grown as players that is for sure but we are looking at back to the roots style for future stuff.
Q: Along with music your Podcast ( Robbcast podcast) is taking off also. What made you get into that and what can people look forward to in your episodes if they tune in?
A: If they listen one thing they will learn is my love for music. Especially 80s metal and thrash. They will also hear experiences that I have had on the road and also offer lots of advice.
Q: If you could give people struggling with finding a passion they love to do, what advice would you tell them?
A: To see it through: I never gave up on music. Once I knew that is what I wanted I never stopped pursuing it. No matter what you love, go out and make it happen.
Q: Empower another artist by telling us someone u admire and why you admire them?
A: I don’t admire any person in particular but I admire people with amazing work ethic. Hard work is my biggest pet peeve. I love being pushed and I love to push people.
credit to Francesca Ludikar
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