Posts Tagged “Defining Moment”

Now comes a time in a premiere metal act’s career when certain paths have reached their end and new ones open up. Dez Fafara is, of course, no stranger to new paths. His transition from nu-metal era favorites COAL CHAMBER to the more ferocious DEVILDRIVER has proven to be a successful gambit. Even doing what was previously unthinkable by fielding a few months of recent COAL CHAMBER reunion gigs, Fafara calls his California Groove Machine back into action for a rowdy sixth ride. This time, they not only make Chris Towning a permanent bassist, they find themselves at the end of a fruitful association with Roadrunner Records, now aligned with the indie-oriented Napalm Records.

In one of the more unorthodox moves by a well-known metal act (as FEAR FACTORY did likewise by drifting from Roadrunner to Candlelight Records), DEVILDRIVER dials way in on their latest album, “Winter Kills”. While not quite as fast as its predecessors, “Winter Kills” nonetheless pounds and minces with one of the tightest performances in their catalog. Still hardly a thrash or metalcore act by either definition, DEVILDRIVER is simply modern metal in its tautest form. “Winter Kills” will hence go down as a defining moment for Fafara and his well-armed ballistics team.

Each song on “Winter Kills” has so much detail and time signature rollovers, even primarily at mid-tempo, they almost defy analysis. One thing that can be said, “Winter Kills” is the kind of album that pays out more than face value. John Boecklin continues to impress with hundreds of bpms delivered per tune and seldom does DEVILDRIVER opt for straight velocity on this album. Boecklin‘s rolling double kicks amidst the strutting power pump of “Ruthless” is nifty stuff, and he fills the tar out of “Desperate Times” with multiple patterns, rolls and barreling floor bass while Dez Fafara half-ralphs and half-raps along. Expect more of the same throughout the entire album. John Boecklin is an unsung drumming hero of this scene and this album displays his full dexterity and potency.

As striking as Boecklin‘s work is throughout “Winter Kills”, Jeff Kendrick and Mike Spreitzer are equally spectacular. Shredding is one of their fortes (most especially on “Gutted”, where every ripping strike across their strings sounds cut from static knives), but their ever-trusty solos hit new levels of grandeur on “The Appetite”, “Curses and Epitaphs”, “Carings Overkill” and “Haunting Refrain”.

Though Dez Fafara recorded his vocal tracks primarily at home in a newly-installed sound booth, the mix into his band’s fluctuating dynamics allows his woofs to sound even more energized than ever. It’s fortunate he’s such an on-the-tick growler since his band would dust nearly anyone else with their constantly veering calculations.

Even more exciting on this album than the electrifying rigidity, pervasive groove and endless variations are the wicked cool intros. “Haunting Refrain” opens with a few bars of lucid ostinato followed by echoing chugs before ripping into the song’s mid-tempo march. The tribal clomps and meaty riffs leading off “Ruthless” are a bitchin’ modicum, while a resonating sluice trickles into some inspired power metal crunches on the album’s finale, “Sail”.

While the overall tone of DEVILDRIVER‘s music remains the same, there is much digging to be done by the listener on “Winter Kills”. It’s evident Dez and the boys are staking their reps with their new recording alliance. Napalm Records is a label with a history for showcasing some of the best Euro and Scandinavian metal in the form of TYR, LEAVES’ EYES, MIDNATTSOL, KORPIKLAANI, ELIS and ATROCITY. Not quite the same household name company DEVILDRIVER is accustomed to, but “Winter Kills” sounds like it belongs here, in title and best of all, in delivery.

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San Diego, California death metallers CARNIFEX have completed recording their new album at Audiohammer Studios in Sanford, Florida with producer Mark Lewis (ARSIS, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, WHITECHAPEL, DEVILDRIVER, DEICIDE, SIX FEET UNDER). An early 2014 release via Nuclear Blast is expected.

“After a year and half of writing and five weeks in the studio, we are very excited that tracking for the new album is complete,” commented vocalist Scott Lewis.

“Not only is this the best production we have ever had, the depth in each song is beyond anything we have previously written. We combined the best parts of our previous albums with elements and influences we only touched on in the past. This is the album CARNIFEX was always meant to write.”

On the band’s new label home, Lewis stated: “Signing with Nuclear Blast is a career-defining moment for CARNIFEX. To be aligned with the largest metal label on earth is a true honor. This worldwide deal signals a turning point for us as a band and individuals. Together with Nuclear Blast, you will see CARNIFEX like you have never seen us before. Prepare yourself for an album that crushes any and all expectations. An album that will stand as the definitive mark for modern metal.”

CARNIFEX‘s Nuclear Blast Records debut will also introduce new lead guitarist and longtime friend of the band, Jordan Lockrey.

CARNIFEX‘s latest album, “Until I Feel Nothing”, was released on October 25, 2011 via Victory Records. The CD was produced by Tim Lambesis of AS I LAY DYING.


Scott Lewis – Vocals
Shawn Cameron – Drums
Jordan Lockrey – Guitar
Cory Arford – Guitar
Fred Calderon – Bass

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Killswitch Engage: back on form

Many people at Download last year will tell you that the defining moment of the festival – perhaps even of the summer or of 2012 itself – was seeing Tony Iommi walk out on stage, shit-eating grin on his face, tens of thousands of teary-eyed fanatics in front of him, witnessing him launch into Black Sabbath and seemingly bring the sun itself down on Donington with some of the most gorgeous, soulful and, of course, heaviest riffs ever written. Let’s be fair: those people were probably right. You can’t really fuck with moments like that.*

For me personally, however, and I’d like to think for a good few other metal fans around my age as well, there was a another, perhaps slightly glossed over moment from that weekend that stood out. On the Saturday afternoon, over on the second stage in a slot that they’d be more likely to command on the main stage in any other year, Killswitch Engage walked out to begin their first ever UK show with Jesse Leach.

What followed was, quite simply, a breathtaking reminder of just why Killswitch Engage are one of the most important metal bands of the 21st century and, more importantly, just what made us all fall in love with them in the first place. More fired up than they’ve been in years and with a singer back in front of them who was clearly in love with what he was doing, it was one of the defining triumphs of the summer, a certified life-affirmer for those of us who picked up Alive Or Just Breathing just over a decade ago and were never quite the same again.

“Ah, so you’re a Jesse guy!” I can imagine some people now proclaiming happily or in disgust, depending on your viewpoint. No, I am not a Jesse guy. Part of the reason that that Download set was so wonderful to watch was being able to see a supremely talented frontman inject another supremely talented frontman’s songs with a new and, I think it’s fair to argue, much-needed burst of passion and heartfelt energy. While AOJB was my baptism of all things Killswitch, The End Of Heartache is clearly even more important to the band and the legacy they have created. And, let it not be forgotten, while the albums that bore them were not quite as impactful, tracks like My Curse, This Is Absolution, The Arms Of Sorrow and, of course, that Dio cover have become as equally and deservedly hailed in the Killswitch canon.

“Oh, so you’re actually a Howard guy!” No, I am not a Howard guy, either. I am not a Howard guy or a Jesse guy. I am a Killswitch Engage guy. I’m not delighted to have Jesse back simply because I didn’t adore much of the “Howard era”. If you hear someone offering an opinion along those lines, chances are they were never a big Killswitch fan to start with and are now simply jumping on the “JESSE’S BACK!” bandwagon for the sake of having an opinion. Fuck those guys.

Neither, however, do I think that Howard could have realistically been involved in an album as powerful, driven and emotionally affecting as Disarm The Descent – plainly the best work the band have produced since …Heartache, even if not quite in the same league as that incredible album or its predecessor. Anyone being totally honest with themselves will admit that Howard looked, to be nice about it, a tad disinterested in his final Killswitch days – the same of which, lest we forget, could have been said about Jesse’s attitude to the band before he originally left the fold.

That Download set wasn’t important because it cast a defining victory in any juvenile, unnecessary arguments over who is ultimately the superior Killswitch Engage singer. Those arguments do nothing for anyone except divide fans, split hairs and provide free facepalms for all. That set was important because it showed a legendary band that was back, doing what they love, and clearly loving it more than they had in quite some time. It rammed home the fact that Killswitch Engage are fucking amazing, and that, whoever is in front of them, it is us lucky sods that ultimately benefit the most.

This week, Killswitch return to the UK for their first ever tour on these shores with Jesse in the band. It’ll be a decade since he was originally supposed to make his UK bow**, and I reckon it’s a fairly safe bet that he’ll be making up for lost time. If he stays with the guys for the next ten years, that’s outstanding. If he buggers off after two albums and they fancy getting Howard back again, that’s fine too! You know why? Because on their day, they’re two of the best metal singers in the business. So just think how fucking brilliant that makes Killswitch Engage. See you at the front, yeah?


*It’s also worth noting that I was fortunate enough to be at Sabbath’s intimate Birmingham show one month earlier, so I’m basically being a showy-offy industry bell-end, here.

 **(On the Roadrunner Roadrage 2003 tour. Remember those? WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT FIVE POINTE O?!)

Killswitch Engage UK Tour Dates

May 2nd – Manchester, HMV Ritz
May 3rd – Glasgow, O2 ABC
May 4th – Birmingham, HMV Institute
May 5th – London, Shepherds Bush Empire
May 6th – Cardiff, The Great Hall at Cardiff Uni

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Florida metallers TRIVIUM recently completed recording their sixth album for a late summer release via Roadrunner Records.

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Slipknot back at Download! YES!

Pearl what? As if next year’s lineup wasn’t already monumentally massive enough, Slipknot have been announced as the third and final headliner for Download 2013! The Iowan icons will be headlining the Friday night of the festival, joining Saturday night headliners Iron Maiden – who will be playing their incredible Maiden England set – and Sunday night’s Rammstein, who are making their debut at Donington.

‘”We are extremely honored to have been asked once again to headline the Download Festival,” says Slipknot’s Clown. “This most definitely will be an experience not to be missed. Every time we’ve played Download we have created memories. It’s always good to have the church of the Knot, the alter of the Knot, giving the sermon oft he Knot to the congregation of the Knot, the culture of the Knot. This summer cannot come soon enough. Partake in the imagination or don’t bitch.”

If you're 555…

“Slipknot’s last appearance at Download has gone down in the festival’s history as one of the best ever headline sets,” adds Live Nation’s Andy Copping. “God knows what they’ll have in store for 2013 but I’m looking forward to seeing how they’ll top the last one.”

Slipknot’s incredible set at Download 2009 is widely regarded as a defining moment for both the band and the festival, so it’s fairly safe to say that “big” doesn’t cover this announcement.

It’ll mean we get moments like this:

Slipknot, Iron Maiden and Rammstein. WHY IS IT NOT JUNE ALREADY?!

Download 2013 takes place at Donington Park from June 14-16 2013. Weekend with camping tickets go on sale 9.00am Friday 28 September from You know you’re in on this.

Download RIP ticket packages are on sale now and can be purchased via or by phoning 0207 009 3484

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Sacred Mother Tongue has announced the release an upcoming new EP titled “A Light Shines…” coming this September 3rd, 2012. The track listing is as follows:

1. Evolve / Become
2. Seven
3. A Final Idea (acoustic)
4. City Is Crying (live from China)

The following press release was also issued about the EP:

“EMI Label Services are proud to announce the release of Sacred Mother Tongue’s brand new EP, the monumental ‘A Light Shines…’. This is their debut release on EMI Label Services and precedes their second album, ‘Out Of The Darkness’, which will be released early next year. ‘A Light Shines…’ is a defining moment for Sacred Mother Tongue, their stake in the sand as one the most exciting bands in British metal. Opening with the powerhouse chorus and heavy-as-hell guitars of ‘Evolve/Become’ and followed by the thumping darkness of ‘Seven’, it’s instantly apparent that SMT have made a quantum leap on from their well-received debut album ‘Ruin Of Man’ in 2009, from which they reinterpret ‘A Final Idea’ as an acoustic number on this EP.

“And now, Sacred Mother Tongue in 2012 are channelling the melodic power of Metallica, the dark demons of Alice In Chains and the visceral intensity of Machine Head to create a vital update of all these influences coupled with a whole heap of skyscraping ambition. And it’s that ambition that saw them head to China last month on tour, from which comes the final track, ‘City Is Crying’, another new song which received its live debut on those foreign shores.

“The band play their first UK show in support of ‘A Light Shines…’ on July 5th at The Intrepid Fox in London’s West End. With a live show of quite spectacular proportions in the works this is a must-see showcase where Sacred Mother Tongue will unveil many of the tracks from the forthcoming album ‘Out Of The Darkness’ in a small venue, ahead of a full headline tour later this year. This is a one-off free gig and support comes from Cypher 16 and Imicus.

“Sacred Mother Tongue’s stunning sonic arsenal features the bruised power of vocalist Darrin South and guitarist Andy James, whose six-string skills have gained him worldwide acclaim both from his peers and on YouTube where his guitar tutorials now have over 4 million views. Completed by Josh Gurner on bass, famed for his stage-diving antics whilst still shredding the fretboard, and drummer Lee Newell, who is also the rhythmic powerhouse behind Fields Of The Nephilim’s live performances, Sacred Mother Tongue are renewed, revitalised and ready to take on the planet. Keep your eyes peeled for the soon-to-be unveiled video for ‘Evolve/Become’ which has to be seen to be believed! And in the meantime you can watch the lyric video for ‘Seven’ below.”

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To develop a polished, mainstream sound, while sounding authentic, is a difficult task for a musician to create, and sometimes for fans of the underground to genuinely appreciate. Los Angeles, California’s Einvera, with their take on technical death metal, has done the unusual by formulating their debut record, In Your Image,  to represent metallic pop culture, while acknowledging the underground in one fell swoop.

Bands like Bullet For My Valentine and Blackguard, are often maligned by the underground for their at times bubblegum-esque take on melo death and folk elements, but the same cannot be said for Einvera. In Your Image, is a host of top technical chops that resemble a combination of the two previously mentioned bands, as well as Dark Tranquillity and any number of tech/prog death bands in the news as of late. This album could have easily spiraled into Revolver magazine, as “breakout artist of the year” with a sampler CD in the back of the magazine or something (which it still may), but the crux of the album is it’s ability to grab the listener with it’s whimsical, folksy vibes that usher in a carefree essence to it’s brutality, but without becoming a charicature. Bands like Blackguard, who perform similarly to Einvera are downright bad, because they are cartoonishly stereotypical, with little in the way of substance, Einvera though, are articulate with their riffs, and allow folk elements to never become stale, especially with the inclusion of bluegrass elements, or latin folk elements, to provoke an American style folk into their music instead of the just the carbon copy gypsy music that has become a staple on these types of albums. This is a key difference, and a defining moment for this band, despite it being only their first album. Much of the criticism of bands like this, is that they only adopt the European styles of folk, but Einvera clearly consider their American roots to be as important as European style folk.

Vocalist Grant, who based on my research seems to be kind of the heart of the band by not only performing the vocals, but also all of the non-traditional instrumentation, which ultimately adds to the individualism to the band’s sound. His guitar, is much more in tune with prog metal and Dark Tranquillity’s rhythmical fluidity, than say the balls to the wall fury of Obscura. Zac, the drummer, provides the perfect levels of drum intensity depending on the mood of the track, be it a subtle prog interlude, or an all out blast beat-a-thon; this guy is on point with any style that the band deems worthy.

In Your Image is a solid album for any fan of metal, as is hits on all the right points to make this a very enjoyable album without any fluff, and really is a natural successor to the modern American technical death metal style en vogue these days. Take note Unexpect fans, THIS is how to perform this style!

Similar Artists: Blackguard, Dark Tranuillity, Unexpect

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AMEBIX, one of the best-loved and most influential bands in heavy music, has spent the last two years working towards this defining moment in its storied career — the release of its first collection of all-new material since 1987.

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Vocalist Kelly Shaefer reactivated seminal technical metal pioneers ATHEIST has issued the following update:

“We are currently deep into the writing of what I feel will be a defining moment in the career of ATHEIST and us as individuals.

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