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Thursday, November 27, 2014

INTERVIEW: Virtuoso Drummer MARCO MINNEMANN Discusses 'Why Caring About The Sound Holds Enormous Importance'

Marco Minnemann is recognized as one of the world’s greatest drummers in the present day. Besides being a virtuoso drummer, Marco is a multi-instrumentalist and the author of numerous excellent instructional books. Marco has delivered his seasoned drumming abilities in a plethora of musical adventures, and has explored a huge variety of genres! He has been associated with artists and bands like Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Jordan Rudess, Necrophagist and of course, The Aristocrats, to name only a few! Marco recently released his much-acclaimed solo album EEPS where he composed, played and recorded all instruments. The album is a brilliant odyssey of a variety of musical dimensions! Marco has also been recording with Steven Wilson for the album Hand.Cannot.Erase, all set to be released in February 2015.

Metal Wani's Debarati Das recently had an In-depth conversation with Marco Minnemann where he spoke about EEPS, Joe Satriani Tour, the Aristocrats album, the upcoming Steven Wilson solo album, tours and experiences.

· Hey Marco! How are you? How has your day been so far?

Marco: I'm doing absolutely fine..and yeah, the day has been great! Thank you!

· You're just back from an amazing tour with Joe Satriani. You have toured Asia and Australia as well. How has the whole experience been?

Marco: The touring experience has been very pleasing indeed! Joe is an absolutely amazing guy to hang out with and he wants me to freely deliver my own style and ideas. I really appreciate the freedom. The entire tour has been a very enjoyable experience. Besides this, we got treated really well which made it wonderful to play there. The only thing which bothered us a bit was the humidity! (Laughs!)

· Your recently released solo album EEPS' features versatile musicality with some unconventional drumming, some heaviness and even some mellowed down music. Please tell us more about the album- about the unique elements you've incorporated in it.

Marco: In my solo albums I play pretty much all the instruments. On EEPS I have explored a variety of things, like you said...there are some mellow tunes as well as heaviness. I've always been interested in experimenting with electronics and have done it on this album as well. EEPS is, to an extent, an experimental record, not really sticking to any particular playing style. It has some jazz/rock tunes as well as elements of pop and electronics, only to name a few!

· Especially as a solo album where you have composed, played and recorded all instruments EEPS is an overwhelming experience! Please tell us about the songwriting process-what instruments did you start with and how did you build upon it?

Marco: There is no particular 'process' as such. The sound is very important. The prime aspect of songwriting is composing and putting the instruments in the right way to achieve the desired sound. I used to be recording alone...just sitting with my guitar and playing something or the other till I'd come to say, “Hey, that sounds nice!". So, some of the entire songwriting process is actually quite spontaneous! For the main 'composing' aspect, I use the guitars, bass and the keyboards. I enjoy plying different instruments and it feels natural to me. I come up with ideas and compose at home or while traveling and capture what I compose on my recording gear till enough material is ready for a release.

· EEPS is also a collection of songs which induce a variety of moods- like, it features some heavy fusions as well as mellow tracks, and not to forget, weird song names! Is there any particular idea that the album as a whole seeks to establish?

Marco: Caring about the sound holds enormous importance! To make it sound the way one wants it to sound, the instruments should be put the right that an idea can also be conveyed. EEPS, for example, has songs like OC/DC which was deliberately played on detuned instruments. It sounded totally absurd! Some listeners thought it was a brilliant composition while some didn't like it. The song called Sunshine is about love and hope while When I Was Gone was written around the theme of religion but in a funny way!

· Is there anything that you've accomplished on EEPS which you hadn't done before?

Marco: Yes, very much! I worked with co-producer Scott Schorr and we arranged a few songs together. He loves the unconventional weird stuff that I compose. Having another person listening to it sure reduces certain risks. It was a great experience!

· You have played in plenty of projects. Despite this fact, the album succeeds in maintaining its uniqueness. How challenging are such attempts- don't your playing styles overlap?

Marco: I believe that one naturally comes to understand the genre one enjoys listening to. I enjoy listening to a variety of musical styles and playing them comes naturally to me. There haven't been any difficulties as such in maintaining the uniqueness of the album. I love to experiment and explore different styles and I tend to write music 'tailored' for each project. Listening to a variety of genres and therefore, being able to understand them sure helps on maintaining uniqueness in each musical adventure when it comes to playing.

· You've been recording with Steven Wilson for his solo album Hand.Cannot.Erase. alongside Guthrie Govan and other seasoned musicians. We loved the promos on YouTube! What can one expect from the album? Please tell us about the experience- each one of you putting together your individual musical experiences for the album.

Marco:  I guess you should actually wait for the album to come out. (Laughs!) Well, the experience has been absolutely amazing! Steven and I connect at a personal level as well and so it becomes very comfortable to make music together. The most important factor is the chemistry between each musician! Once that is established, the rest follows smoothly. As we understand each others vibes, jamming together and making music is very enjoyable and spontaneous!

· Most of Steven Wilson's work is about establishing a strong concept through detailed musicality. Is the new album laced around any concept as such? Are there any new areas that you've explored?

Marco: I'm not the right person to answer this question! (Laughs!) It's about someone who disappears one fine day and nobody misses her for a long time.

There aren't really any new areas that we've explored. But yes.. the album has a lot to offer. It is pretty much reflective of our previous material, and has some electronics, some very progressive-oriented music as well as few parts on flute and saxophone. Also, the recording at AIR Studios was a wonderful experience especially making music with people whom give you the freedom to explore and deliver your own style.

· You have drummed in so many projects, across a slew of genres- from The Aristocrats to Steven Wilson to Necrophagist, just to name a few. What have been your major inspirations that led you to explore so many different styles?

Marco: I've been listening to a variety of genres sine a very long time, and even as a child I wanted to write and translate the instruments. Inspirations are many! I listened to bands and artists like Queen, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa and yes..Slayer! Since I enjoyed listening to these bands, I naturally understood the ideas they put forth. I also like exploring electronics. All these bands that I have played with had something to offer that I enjoyed playing! Especially The Aristocrats- that's our own band. It is slightly different because it is the three of us designing the music and deciding the production as well.

· You're going to tour with Steven Wilson in 2015. Is there any possibility of seeing you in India for a gig or a drum clinic? What else is in store?

Marco: Yes, tours are scheduled and The Aristocrats have a Live CD/DVD and some new material in store. And I'd love to play in India and get to know more about the music and musicians there!

· Thank you for your time, Marco! We're excited about the new album. Cheers!

BIG Thanks To Scott Schorr for the support \m/


We just came across a post by Philip L., who has filed the following report:

"I have just returned from former SLAYER and current PHILM drummer Dave Lombardo's clinic in Geneva, Switzerland (on November 26), which was very impressive.

"During the autograph session, Dave made it clear that he was open to the possibility of joining MEGADETH if the invitation were extended to him.

"As Dave was signing my copy of FANTÔMAS' 'The Director's Cut', I mentioned that MEGADETH are in need of a new drummer as of yesterday. Lombardo looked up with a big smile and said, before a number of other fans (verbatim): 'I know. I just heard. Dave [Mustaine] has my number, so I'm waiting.' He looked up at us, grinned, and moved on to sign the next fan's item. He might have made this reply in jest, but if nothing more, this indicates that Lombardo is open to the possibility of replacing MEGADETH's Shawn Drover. He appeared genuinely interested in the opportunity.

"Lombardo stated during the clinic that he has touring plans with his new project, PHILM, in the immediate future, but he didn't mention this in his reply to me concerning the MEGADETH slot.

"If Dave Mustaine is interested and were to reach out to him, there are strong chances that Dave Lombardo would consider collaborating with MEGADETH, especially now that he is no longer a member of SLAYER.

REVIEW: THANATOS - "Global Purification"

Bands from the early extreme metal movement will forever occupy a special place in my heart. I can’t make up my mind on whether I love the sheer abrasiveness of the sound or the beautiful consummation of brutality and groove. Whatever it is, just one whiff of that old school metal goodness is enough to transform me into a drooling love-struck puppy. Thanatos is a Dutch band (arguably the first Dutch extreme metal band) which was born during that 80's golden era of extreme metal but forever lurked in the underground. They finally called it quits in 1992, barely getting recognized outside their country. The band re-grouped again after a gap of 7 long years and have released 4 albums after that hiatus, the latest being 'Global Purification' which was out on 17th November via Century Media Records.

Thanatos has a solid death/thrash metal sound with uncompromising doses of groove that will sucker-punch the wind out of you. On 'Global Purification’, they keep their legacy intact and deliver a vicious tsunami of million-chugs-per-second death-thrash riffage and frantic drum work over powerful black metal style vocals, creating a super-intense atmosphere that would make your necks beg for mercy. With the artwork featuring a decaying Jesus on a backdrop of mythology and war, the band minces no words in specifying their views on religion and how it is affecting the world.

The album starts off with the title track “Global Purification” where after an eerie 20 seconds, the band launches into a characteristic death metal tremolo attack over a blitzkrieg of double bass interspersed by some groovy snare hits, sounding like an unrelenting surge of waves thrashing against your ear drums. The track ends with steady blast beats providing the backdrop to an atonal thrashy solo gloriously screeching away before the band repeats the verse and intro sections to bring it to a full circle. The band maintains a high-octane sound throughout the album, barely giving up on the aggressive riffage and intense drumming. I enjoyed Yuri Rinkel’s drum work on this album the most. Yuri’s gunshot-like snare hits on top of the unceasing double bass elevates the ferocity of the band to newer levels. “Queen Of Gore”, has a section where Yuri delivers some deafening snare hits that instantly made me raise those metal horns up. He doesn’t play like a mindless speed-demon blast-beating his way through the tracks, but puts everything in context of the song, knowing when to hold back and when to explode through your cochlea. He is matched equally well on the guitars by Paul Baayens and Stephan Gebedi (also on vocals), and bassist Marco de Bruin, who provide plenty of air guitar and fist-pumping moments in the solos and harmonies apart from achieving breakneck speed in the rhythm sections.

Thanatos creates an intensely nostalgic old-school sound that is fiercely corrosive but also heavily injected with groove and a tinge of melody. On “Feeding The War Machine”, the guitars and drums follow a duet-like synchronization; when the guitars are chugging away mercilessly, the drums provide a groove laden cover and vice-versa before teaming up to elevate the aggression. “Nothing Left”, “Dawn Of The Dead” and “Infestation Of The Soul” provide some variety in the mix by incorporating slower rhythm sections and melodic harmonies in between the bursts of speed. “Murder of Innocence” too is a good example of the band achieving perfection in blending speed, melody and groove. It features a longer guitar solo than the other tracks and has some nice tempo changes. Singer/Guitarist Stephan Gebedi’s angst-filled screaming vocals hurl the listener in the middle of the war. I enjoy his screaming high pitched growls more than his guttural vocal style, and thus became an instant fan of his performance. Stephan’s vocal delivery has as much intensity and emotion as the instrumentation has.

All in all, Thanatos delivers a supremely power-packed sound in ‘Global Purification’ which is beyond just hard hitting Death-Thrash Metal. They manage to hit that sweet spot of melody and belligerence and carve out a mean monster, but one that has a heart and soul.

Recommended Tracks: “Feeding The War Machine”, “Global Purification”, “Murder of Innocence”, Queen Of Gore”

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed By,
Rakesh Pothengil

REVIEW: MACHINE HEAD - "Bloodstone & Diamonds"

California-based metal giants Machine Head have released their eighth full-length studio album ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ after extensive promotional campaigns and in the midst of tours and shows in support. This is the band’s first album to be released through Nuclear Blast Records, who were responsible for all the publicity Machine Head received, proving the record label’s status as one of the best in the metal industry.

‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ can be looked at from two different points of view. It can be looked at as a Machine Head album, causing its content to pale in comparison to something like ‘The Blackening’ or ‘Unto the Locust’, two of the band’s finest efforts. Or, it can be seen as an honest metal album from a band, simply a new release;  in this scenario, the album fares much better. Exploring both viewpoints would give us a better understanding and a more informed opinion of this album.

It might not be impossible, but it certainly is very hard for Machine Head or any other band for that matter to outdo what they did in ‘The Blackening’. The new album is lacking in terms of fresh and creative song-writing. Robb Flynn, primary song-writer, guitarist, and vocalist, doesn’t seem to be bringing anything new to the table. Despite the occasional orchestrations working well in places, the album features only a few tasty bits and memorable moments.

“Now We Die”, released with a music video, allows its orchestrations to weave into the song pretty well, with a catchy and groovy main hook that unfortunately quickly turns monotonous. This is the problem with a lot of the other songs and these traits are similar in terms of both their positives and negatives.

There are exceptions, like the tracks “Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones” and “Sail into the Black” for example. They push Machine Head’s boundaries and musical creativity in spite of having slower passages, and they boast of some truly monstrous guitar-work that adds an extra punch. Phil Demmel and Robb drive the band forward with venomous riffs and inventive solos, the guitars’ dual assault screaming trademark Machine Head. “Eyes of the Dead” follows in these footsteps.

“Killers and Kings”, the first single off the album, has some elements of rhythm and groove that work fairly well together, but that’s about it. The problem that almost all of the songs cannot evade is their durations. ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ clocks in at over 70 minutes, containing 12 tracks, with each of the songs averaging 6-7 minutes each. Again, Robb Flynn’s song-writing is called into question here, which sways drastically between deep and profound, and just plain dumb.

Machine Head also fails in ruthlessly exploiting those large chunks of time which, ideally, should be spent exploring and constantly innovating their music. It might not always be the best option to peg back to a bland chorus 7 minutes into a song after labouring through generic-sounding mid-sections and bridges. Tracks like “Game Over”, “Imaginal Cells”, and “Take Me Through the Fire” (which make up the tail-end of the album) follow this formula, and thus feel out of place and completely unnecessary.

Drummer Dave McClain manages to keep things fairly interesting (even in the weaker songs) if you manage to overlook the stale composition of the songs and pay attention to the rhythm section. Still, there isn’t that much he can do when creative juices of the band as a whole aren’t flowing too well. Jared MacEachern, Machine Head’s latest acquisition, is pretty audible on the bass, doing a decent job in being prominent when everything is so low-ended. His backing vocals complement Robb’s primary ones quite well. Robb is admittedly quite exceptional with his vocal duties, layering his vocals to suit the tone and mood of each song.

The mix and production is also strong and clear on ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’, with nothing being too loud and over-powering. That being said, it is obvious that the album is, overall, a great one in terms of a new heavy metal album hitting the stores and hoping to introduce people to metal. It does a good job in bringing out the crux of what heavy metal is all about: a slew of shifting emotions, be it anger or melancholy. But as a Machine Head album, it simply doesn’t live up to the standard set by some of their earlier releases. Both of these are acceptable points of view for the fans. However, polarising your audience this way is acceptable only when you dare to push your musical boundaries and explore unfamiliar and unchartered territory; something Machine Head has sadly not done.

Rating: 6/10

Reviewed By,
Rishabh P. Mansur

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

INTERVIEW: KROKODIL's Daniel Carter On 'Nachash' - "A Perfect Example Of A Modern, Forward Thinking Metal Band"

2014 has seen the rise of many new up and coming bands with debut albums and Krokodil are pretty much on the top of that list. Featuring members from progressive metallers SiKth, as well as from Gallows, Hexes, Liber Necris and Cry for Silence this six-piece outfit from the UK have released their first record ‘Nachash’. Those who have heard two or more of these bands, will know that each one has a very distinct sound of their own, thus pulling together an array of sounds and elements resulting in a killer set of tracks. It’s really hard to put them into one genre given the vareity but quite simply, think heavy metal meets metalcore meets sludge meets melody and heaps of dynamic riffage! Not only has this band released a new album that’s has a massive response but they’ve been touring like crazy, playing a whole bunch of the elite metal festivals like Sonisphere, Bloodstock and Download and owning it.

Prarthana V from Metal Wani had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Daniel Carter, guitarist of Krokodil. They spoke about everything Krokdil, including a funny story on how the band got together, the really jaw-dropping ideas behind ‘Nachash’, the writing process, how the band does not believe in the label of ‘supergroup’ and heaps more. It definitely gave us more insight into what this band is all about and how they’ve been managing their rising success!

Stream The Entire Interview Here:

INTERVIEW: HELLDORADOS' Pierre Siedel On New Album: "No ProTools, No 100,000 Effects And Gimmicks. Just Pure Rock `N Roll"

Stuttgart’s infernal quartet Helldorados came out with the newest album called 'Lessons in Decay' recently. Formed in 2007, the new album is a sequel to their self-titled debut album back in 2012. One of the things that the band likes to bring out in their music is their love for the party aura and have definitely conveyed that blast through their new album. The new album is believed to be more focussed meaning that the band has found their direction with a perfect blend of rawness and polish to the album making it as brilliant as it is. 

Recently, Shwetha Kamath of Metal Wani got an opportunity to speak to the vocalist Pierre Siedel about the band, the album and their many Rock 'n Roll influences. The album art on the album was done by Timo Würz who is known to have worked with Marvel, Museum of Modern Art, New York and many other places, The album was also produced by the band and James Herter known for Fool's Garden, Blue Night Shadow and mixed and mastered by Sven Samson Geiger known for Scorpions, Motörhead and Saxon.

Greetings from Metal Wani! How have you been?

Pierre: Hey everyone, we're all doing well. Thanks for taking the time to ask. 

What is the story behind naming the band ‘Helldorados’? Does it have anything to do with the famous W.A.S.P album ‘Helldorado’?

Pierre: Caught! No seriously, I had that particular W.A.S.P album always on my mind. Heavy Metal in general and also the band W.A.S.P had it's problems during the late 1990s. With the Helldorado album the band was back on the radar. But actually Helldorados refers to a mixture of Hell and El Dorado. The music industry has been terminated itself in the last 15 years. With around 50% of total loss this industry is basically no longer able to exist. Everything has changed and from the so-called golden city El Dorado only a Helldorado is left. We see ourselves as the four chosen ones who decided to oppose this state. We are coming from Stuttgart, Germany. A city that is known for their automotive industries and in which there are hardly any scope for creative people. This sometimes feels like hell also. 

Your recently released second album ‘Lessons in Decay’ speaks of the influences the band draws from the 80s’ classic metal and is somewhat reminiscent of the likes of Grave Digger. Please tell us about your musical inspirations.

Pierre: Hmmm... Grave Digger is not on our map at all. Basically, music is still a purely emotional Good . Either it touches a person or not. We do not see ourselves actually in a particular musical style. We do exactly what comes out of us. Because we privately hear very different music, therefore the typical Helldorados sound is like it is. Chris (drums), is into thrash metal bands and he also hears a lot of punk rock. Gunnar (bass), listens very much to classic rock like The Who or Deep Purple. Personally, I actually listen to any kind of music. Just everything that touches me. Doesn't matter if it is Heavy Metal, Rock, Pop or Classic music . 

Please tell us about the influences and musical experiences each member brings into Helldorados. Are these influences unique or are they shared between the members?

Pierre: I do think every band member has his unique influences and puts it into the collective – means the band. At the end of the day the collective decides whether a song is working for us, or not. I mean, recording an album is a growing process. You bring creativity, energy and a lot of time and money in such a process. At least two years of hard work. Yet, we are very glad to gave birth to this little bastard. 

How has your experience with Helldorados been so far? What changes has the sound of the band witnessed in the journey from its debut album ‘Helldorados’ to the second album ‘Lessons in Decay’?

Pierre: Our debut " Helldorados " was recorded in a well known studio and we were all very pleased with the final result. However, we never wanted to sound like all the other bands out there. All the over the top productions, the loudness war in the mastering process we do not want to join. Why should I put something on an album, which I can never reproduce live? On “Lessons In Decay” we wanted to sound as close and raw as possible. No ProTools, no 100.000 effects and gimmicks. Just pure Rock ` N Roll. As it came out of the amplifier, it was recorded on the tape machine. 

Helldorados seems to be proceeding rather steadily. What are your plans for the near future? Is there any new material in store or will you be focussing more on Live shows?

Pierre: Cool, that you see it that way. We don't have to rush things. We are in a comfortable situation, because we just do what feels best for us. Live shows are so important for us and we would love to come to the U.S. someday soon. If any promoter reads this interview, please feel free to get in touch with our management. On the other hand we keep on focusing on new material, of course. 

Please share with us your most memorable experiences from international shows that you’ve played with Helldorados.

Pierre: What happens on tour, stays on tour :) Seriously, to be on the road as a newcomer band isn't fun all the time. Most of the time you get shitty food, you have to stay in line for a pee and someone is getting lost sooner or later. That happens in every country you are visiting. At the end of the day all that matters is the 60+ minutes on stage entertaining the crowd that did buy a ticket because of your creative output. That keeps me speechless and deeply thankful every day. 

Do you have any message for fans reading this interview?

Pierre: Take a walk to your local record dealer. Support your local record dealer. Ask for Helldorados and buy our album, steal it or copy it if you think it's not worth a penny. But sit down with it, read the liner notes, check out the pictures in the booklet and take a minute to listen deeply into the music. It doesn't matter if you like it or not, but if you guys Rock, Helldorados Roll. 

Thank you for taking out time for this interview! Cheers!

Pierre: You're welcome, best regards.


UPDATE: Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick has released the following statement:

"Due to artistic and musical differences, it is with great reluctance that I announce my departure from Megadeth to pursue my own musical direction. I want all of you to know how much I appreciate the amount that you the fans have accepted and respected me as a member of Megadeth for the last seven years, but it is time for me to move on. I wish Dave and everyone in Megadeth all the best. I am working on a few things of my own and hope that when they come out, you will all dig it.

Until then,
Chris. \m/"

Earlier Megadeth's drummer Shawn Drover quit the band and released the following statement:

“After 10 years, I have decided to quit Megadeth to pursue my own musical interests. I want to thank Dave Mustaine and the entire Megadeth family, as well as thanking all the amazing Megadeth fans around the world!!! I truly appreciate all of you. Stay tuned for info on my next musical journey."

NEWS: Shawn Drover Quits MEGADETH

Megadeth drummer Shawn Drover has released the following statement:

“After 10 years, I have decided to quit Megadeth to pursue my own musical interests. I want to thank Dave Mustaine and the entire Megadeth family, as well as thanking all the amazing Megadeth fans around the world!!! I truly appreciate all of you. Stay tuned for info on my next musical journey."
Looks like it's the right time for Nick Menza to join the Megadeth family ;)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NEWS: JUDAS PRIEST's ROB HALFORD - "Appearing On 'The Simpsons' Was The Biggest Thrill Of My Life"

Judas Priest singer Rob Halford has said that appearing on the animated TV program "The Simpsons" was "the biggest thrill" of his life and has commended the show's producers for indirectly apologizing to the band after the episode mistakenly referred to Priest as "death metal."

Speaking to Seattle's KISW radio station, Rob stated about the experience of being on "The Simpsons": "They invited me to a read-through, so I said, 'Yeah, I'll come and hang out.' So we're in a room, and they invite a lot of guests, and the writers are down at the other end with their notepads and watching everybody that's looking at the table. And then the producer goes, 'Welcome, everybody, to the read-through. Blah blah blah blah blah. 'The Simpsons' is the longest-running, most successful animated TV series ever.' He sets up the storyline, and he said, 'We open up with Homer talking about so-and-so.' And then Homer starts speaking, and Homer is about two feet to my left. And then Marge starts speaking, and then Bart starts speaking. It was, like, the most surreal thing ever, but the biggest thrill of my life, because I've been a 'Simpsons' fan since that show first kicked off."

He added: "It was very, very sweet. Some of the actors knew Priest and we shook hands and we took some pictures and so forth. That's another thing… With Priest, we're in that kind of… What's that thing called? The Seven Degrees Of Kevin Bacon? That's where we find ourselves now all of these years later. It seems like there's this great kind of seven degrees going on everywhere where Priest has touched somebody…. That sounds bizarre [referring to the 'priest touching somebody' comment]… Priest has reached out musically and we brought everybody into the Priest family."

INTERVIEW: THOMAS GILES On Solo Album 'Modern Noise': "It's A Journey Between My Mind & Me"

The first time we heard of a Thomas Giles solo album, the internet almost went haywire and why shouldn't it. After all  the moniker was adopted by the otherwise popular Thomas Rogers from popular progressive band Between the Buried and Me. Sure, BTBAM (as it's popular known) is one of the best progressive bands around and Rogers does indeed take up the role of the vocalist, 'Modern Noise', his new solo album is everything BTBAM is not, except from awesome. For the large part, 'Modern Noise' is not metal, it has smaller elements of metal but is more of an indie-electronicish-rock project.

After a 3 year gap, Thomas Giles is ready for his second release and Srishti Das from Metal Wani was very lucky to speak to him about the new album, managing and balancing out the pressure from the audience after the first solo hit album and the many successes with BTBAM. He also talks about what to expect from BtBaM and the experience while recording the previously released DVD called 'Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium'. Here is an in-depth conversation with Thomas Giles, read up if you may! (Don't forget to catch the album after)

Hello Thomas, greetings from India! How are you doing?

Thomas: I’m great!! Still haven’t been to India, and I hope I can visit one day!

So, ‘Modern Noise’ releases on the 25th of November. After the grand success of your previous solo album ‘Pulse’ how does it feel to put out the sequel and what is the story behind this album?

Thomas: I’m very excited about this release. I feel like this is a step forward for me and I hope the listener enjoys this record as much as I enjoyed creating it. This record was written with the end goal of creating the most honest and organic record from myself as possible. I think I achieved this.

A hit debut solo album, vocalist of one of the fore running modern progressive metal bands, ‘Between the Buried and Me’ how is the pressure of expectation? How do you manage to cope with it because the released singles are not a notch less brilliant? 

Thomas: I try to never think about expectations. My primary purpose is to write the best song I can. I work very hard at everything I do, so getting praise with the outcome is a very rewarding. I think when a musician thinks too much about what they are expected to write, then you’re putting yourself in the corner and not allowing yourself to do write what naturally occurs.

Between the Buried and Me is a successful band, you still chose to work on a solo project. Apart from the obvious reasons, like you get the freedom to work on what solely makes you tick or more. Why did you decide to split your path and take the solo project up?

Thomas: For me it’s fun to step outside what you normally do. This keeps you creative and in the end helps you as a musician. You learn about yourself when you write solo material. I just like the idea of creating a song with a very simple song structure and focusing heavily on melody. BTBAM is a much more involved process. I wouldn't change anything about either project.

Your solo work shows how wide your interests in making music are, having experimented with metal, rock and electronic music do you think you have more that you want to experiment with?

Thomas: I love music and writing is second nature to me. I never sit down and tell myself that I’m going to try this and that. I just write and the outcome is what it is. I hope to always try new things, but I never set out musical goals in advance. I tackle every song as it is written. The future is endless!

Coming to the new album, ‘Modern Noise’ this album is more focussed compared to ‘Pulse’. Do you think you have finally found what you want to work with and what your sound is going to be or do you plan to keep exploring for newer sounds and things to work on?

Thomas: I do think I found a sound that really speaks from me well. I do always want to try new things, but I do feel more comfortable in my own skin when it comes to this material. I look forward to creating more music in the future.

What do you think you did differently on ‘Modern Noise’ that you never ever did before? Tell us one thing you discovered while working on it that you never knew before.

Thomas: I wrote most of this record on the road with BTBAM. I’ve never written on the road before and I really enjoyed it. Helped me stay focused and get motivated on a daily basis from my surroundings. I discovered that living in the studio while you record is the most productive thing to do when creating a record.

If you ask me, the album is an experience. While listening to it there are ups and downs that make you travel through the music. There are times when you feel like there is going to be a stop on a mellow note but storms back in to recapture. It was a sensorial experience. How do you plan your work and place the songs in the specific order while writing? What is the writing process like?

Thomas: Thanks! The song order is something I organize a little before/during the process. I normally know how I want to start and end the record. At this point in my career I’ve gotten a better ear for what needs to be where. It’s something that’s hard to explain in words. The writing process differs for every song, but they all start with a basic idea/part and I slowly build that into musical moments. From there I construct a song.

Would you like to inform our gear nerds about what all was used into making this album sound as phenomenal as it sounds?

Thomas: I play a PRS Classic 24 and a PRS Starla. I used a Mesa Boogie Mark 5 throughout the entire record. Will plays a Mapex kit. I used an ampeg bass amp and a Fender Jazz bass.

Coming to BTBAM, the band just came out with a new DVD. The response was definitely brilliant. How was the experience like?

Thomas: It was so fast! We filmed/recorded in a day so it flew by. Way too much work for one day. It was weird playing without a crowd, but we just treated it like we would playing together at rehearsal. Was a unique experience and at this point in our careers it’s nice to have that.

Now the band is expected, to come out with a new album soon. You will also have more free time with your solo out. When should we be hearing big announcements from BTBAM. Do you have any secret news to share?

Thomas: The record will be out next year, but I don’t have a timeline yet. The record is going well and our fans will hopefully love the material we are writing!!

It’s true that if the world didn’t know you were the vocalist on BTBAM the album ‘Modern Noise’ would still be one of the best this year. It was true also with ‘Pulse’. Do you think that BTBAM adds to the sales and acknowledgment of your solo work? How do you feel about it?

Thomas: I think it does. If there wasn’t BTBAM hardly anyone would hear this. Hahahaha. I do hope to expand to some people who haven’t heard of me before from my past work. New fans is always a goal for every musician.

Tommy Rogers of BTBAM or Thomas Giles? Who do you enjoy being more?

Thomas: It’s the same person. Just a boring old guy that writes some music. Hahaha

Tell us when that India trip is coming up? We and our fans cannot wait to watch you play here. Did you hear anything about the country and music that you would specifically want to check out?

Thomas: I’ve always wanted to go there. Hope it happens in the future. I've always heard great things about the crowds there. I just want to see the country and eat some delicious food!

Lastly, give a line as to why our fans and your fans should buy your album with a small little message for them for their support now or in the future!

Thomas: There is something for everyone on this record. It’s a very personal look into my mind. Thanks for all the support over the years! I’m a very lucky person to have the support I do. See you soon!

NEWS: AC/DC Premiere Music Video for "Rock or Bust" Track

Rock legends AC/DC have premiered the new music video for the title track of their new album 'Rock or Bust'. The video was shot with director David Mallet at Black Island Studios in Middlesex, England.

Having worked with the band for 24 years till now, Mallet stated, "They have never come out with any pretense to be anything else than the best rock and roll band in the world."

Estranged drummer Phil Rudd (who is now due in court on charges of "threatening to kill" and drug possession) was absent from AC/DC's publicity photos, as well as their music video shoots for "Play Ball" and "Rock or Bust". Drummer Bob Richards filled Rudd's vacant spot during filming, with singer Brian Johnson reportedly telling fans at the shoot that Rudd was unable to participate due to an undisclosed "family emergency".

REVIEW: HIGH FIGHTER - "The Goat Ritual [EP]"

Out of nowhere thick dark smog emerges drifting ominously closer, as you inhale, your bronchioles clog up with dank sludge and as you choke to death it is only then you realize it was the pre-emptive attack of High Fighter. Hailing from Hamburg they are new to the scene forming in the summer of 2014, the combination of former band members of Buffalo Hump, A Million Miles and Pyogenesis, this group began creating a racket and after several months they recorded their first EP ‘The Goat Ritual’.

A fine combination of Blues, Stoner and Hardcore creates a unique atmosphere, accompanied by vocalist Mona Miluski are of interest transferring between a gritty clean and growled wails throughout songs which keeps the band from diffusing in to the air around them.

Keeping with an underground approach ‘The Goat Ritual’ was recorded live over a couple of days in their practice room. Under production plays well for this band as it adds a denser layer over the mix augmenting their desired roots in music. The opening riff of the first track “2Steps Blueskill” hooked me instantly with its explosive intro and heavily distorted groove riffs, continuing on switching between high powered blues grooves and grave ambience. Definitely a strong introduction to the band and the potential they have.

“Breaking Goat Mountains” is reminiscent of the grunge tinted sound Kittie, giving off a similar vibe with the lighter melody whilst still bringing the dirtiness out in full force especially via the vocal tones, which are some of the grittiest on the EP. ‘Fire In The Sun’ has another catchy intro which grabbed my attention. Both the melody of the guitar and rhythm of the song are memorable, again the vocal line is diverse keeping the listener occupied and overall probably my favorite song as I found myself re-listening to it often.

The only song I couldn’t relate to was “In Veins” due to it slow repetitive structure and lack of a varied vocal line. But was then somewhat brought to a higher regard due to its outro being recognizable to ‘Fire In The Sun’. High Fighter seem like an intriguing band to look out for ‘The Goat Ritual’ is a strong self release with a viable DIY sound so we shall see what they release in the future.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed By,
James Dean

NEWS: JOE SATRIANI Thinks CHICKENFOOT Will Make Couple Of More Records In The Future

Guitarist Joe Satriani thinks the Chickenfoot project has "a couple of more records" left in its career despite singer Sammy Hagar's recent assertion that he didn't "see any reason" to make a new album. The band has not made a CD in three years and Hagar told Rolling Stone that there were no plans to work on a new one in the near future. 

He explained, "I love making music. But doing it on Chickenfoot's level means spending a half million on a record. We write and record for six months. It's a lot of work, and then to not sell many records, it's disappointing. I don't like being disappointed. I like winning."

VH1 Classic "That Metal Show" co-host Eddie Trunk caught up with Satriani who was asked if he thinks Chickenfoot will ever release another album. He responded: "I'm not sure. I'm always that guy that's bugging them. I think I drive them crazy, because I'm always writing songs, I'm sending them demos and saying, 'C'mon, let's do it. Let's do it. Let's do it.'"

He continued: "First of all, Sam, Mike and Chad, they've got other things to do. And Chad, of course, is right in the middle of an album project with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and so that's a difficult thing; that's his main band. And Sam and Mike are now part of Sammy's band, and they have a schedule. And then Sammy, along with all of his businesses, both for profit and for charity, is also extremely busy. So I come back from being around the world and touring and doing this stuff, and I'm, like, 'C'mon, let's go. Let's go.' And they're, like, 'Well, hold on a minute.' And then I'm off again. So I guess I'm partly to blame because of my busy schedule.

"Chickenfoot is the only band I've ever been in, really, since I left New York that made records. I became a solo artist sort of by accident, and then I've been doing that since '86. And all of a sudden I get a chance [to launch a band] from the ground up…

"It's different from playing with Deep Purple or Mick Jagger; this is a band of equals writing original material. And so I really want it to fly, you know what I mean?! I really wanna put in as much time as I can get into the band. But it's a little different for the other guys, because they have history and they have current commitments — especially Chad; he's in a world-famous band already. [Laughs] So I think that's where it's always a bit funny. We're trying to get our priorities straight, and we probably never will. But I do think there's a couple of more records in there somehow."

Satriani added: "It becomes a little bit stranger as the music industry changes; it's rolling away from focusing on albums. And I think that puts Chickenfoot in an even more awkward position, because I think a rock band needs to put out a record and tour; I think that's what you've gotta do. And the putting out a full album and touring is something that, I think, that the four members of Chickenfoot are having a hard time fitting into their future schedule. Recording songs, that'd be a piece of cake and we'd love to do it, but I think it's how we proceed after we record songs. Because we're not a singles band, really, we're not a video band, we're not a band that shows up at a TV show with a huge production with clowns and animals and dancers and explosions and stuff; we're a rock and roll band."

NEWS: JUDAS PRIEST's GLENN TIPTON On PANTERA: 'They Wrote Some Great Songs' And 'They Were Innovative'

Jay Nanda of conducted an interview with JUDAS PRIEST guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner before the band's November 7 performance at the ninth annual Fun Fun Fun Fest (FFF Fest) at Auditorium Shores in Austin, Texas.
Asked to share some of his memories of late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and his influence on the metal world, Tipton said: "PANTERA supported us — didn't they? — on a European tour [in the early 1990s]. And they were a very innovative band, a great band, a great bunch of guys. It was just an absolute tragedy that someone would [murder Dimebag while he was performing with DAMAGEPLAN]. It's just terrible — a complete tragedy. And I've got a lot of respect for PANTERA. Everything they did, I think, was… They were a band that was immediately recognizable, they wrote some great songs, they were innovative and they were great guys."

Added Richie: "I never met Dime. I met his brother [former PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott] last night for the first time. He came to the show and we had a blast. So it was just great to meet his brother. It's a shame I couldn't meet Dime. And the influence of the guy speaks volumes. And that goes for these guys [the other members of JUDAS PRIEST] too; the music lives on longer than we do. Some of it's cut off shorter than it should be, but at the end of the day, the legacy is in the music. So long may that continue."