Jason Newsted returned to the heavy metal scene earlier this year with his “Metal” EP and the response was unbelievably positive! We were hearing his type of sound, his lyrics and his passion for the first time on a record and it is absolutely incredible! This is raw, unrelenting, true heavy metal at it’s finest. Since the release of the EP, he now has a full band who have been destroying venues across the States on their warm up run for a massive tour schedule that’s taking them all the way through the Gigantour this summer! As you read in my review of the NYC show, he is still one of the most exciting musicians to watch on stage and the band sounds HUGE all together! Do NOT miss them when they come through your town!
Before the gig in New York City, I had the absolute honor and privilege to have a brief chat with Jason on the new band, getting back to touring, the response from the metal world, future plans and more! Check out my interview with the legend below!
The great Dark Tranquillity will be unleashing their new album, “Construct”, on May 27th thanks to Century Media! As for previews of the new material, we’ve got three tracks already and they all sound incredible! From “For Broken Words” to “The Science Of Noise” to the first video for “Uniformity“, “Construct” is sounding like one of the best albums of the year! Recently I got the chat with the Martin Henriksson about the new record, the band’s legacy and much more, and the interview is below! Enjoy!
Metal Mark: Dark Tranquillity will be releasing your 10th studio album, “Construct”, on May 27th. Being the tenth studio album, was there any more importance put on this record than others before?
Martin Henriksson: Tricky question, but nope – while in the studio, every album has felt like the most important thing in the world.
MM: The early reviews are calling it “the strongest and most exciting” album from you guys in a while. Do you feel the same way? If so, why?
MH: Definitely! I know that it sounds like a typical promo statement, but I’m usually not the guy to make those “this is our best album EVER” claims. My perspective is that we made 3-4 great records that all had a pretty similar approach to the songwriting, which caused things to go a bit on autopilot at the end. Now, we’ve reinvented ourselves and are back with an album that isn’t catchy and doesn’t have instant appeal but instead requires attention and repeated listens to fully appreciate. That’s exactly the kind of music I appreciate myself, so things are more exciting than what they’ve been in a long time.
MM: In the band’s statement on the record, I read that you guys call it the “most different and diverse offering since ‘Projector’.” What do you mean by that? Are there some surprises on the record that we wouldn’t usually expect from DT?
MH: Well, none of the albums since “Projector” has brought this many new ideas to the table. But again, one should always take a band member’s viewpoint with a grain of salt. Music is something personal, and everyone will perceive it differently depending on his or her own frame of reference. I’d expect fans that are familiar with our history to not be super shocked by “Construct”, but those that primary know us from “Fiction” and “Character” might be a very surprised by some of the elements.
MM: The first song to be heard from the album will be “For Broken Words.” Why was this chosen as the first release to fans above the others?
MH:The thing with “Construct” is that all songs are pretty different from each other, so there isn’t one track that ‘s representative of the whole album. In the past, we’ve often played it safe by releasing the most catchy and typical D.T. song as the first preview, so this time it was interesting to take another route. But we hope that people will devour to the whole album as a whole; no matter what preview songs you chose, they will never tell the whole story.
MM: Do you have any personal favorite tracks on the CD that you really want fans to be on the look-out for?
MH: Hmm…hard to say. I really like “None Becoming” and “State of Trust”, both written by our keyboardist.
MM: Being the first record in three years, will there be a longer tour schedule than normal to push the new material?
MH: Not sure. The touring schedule for “We are the Void” was ridiculously extensive, so I’m not sure if we can beat that, ha ha! We always try to tour as much as possible, but it depends on a lot of factors. The whole music industry climate is different now than back in 2010 when “We are the Void” was released, and we also don’t want to wait another three years before releasing the next album, so we’ll see what happens.
MM: Every fan in the United States is wondering about a tour in support of this album, so what’s the latest status on that?
MH: A North American tour is 99% confirmed to take place in September or October. We’re just waiting for the final details and for the last couple of confirmed shows in order to get the green light to make it official, so there should be some kind of news release very soon.
MM: The band was confirmed again for the next 70,000 Tons Of Metal Cruise. Although you’ve gone on the trip before, what’s the biggest thing you’re looking forward to on this trip?
MH: It’s just a very fun and different experience. Most tours involve sitting in a smelly van for weeks, so it’s a welcome change to play in the tropical sun. It’s hard to describe the whole setting; one needs to be there in order to fully grasp how weird it is with a cruise ship filled to the rim with metalness.
MM: Dark Tranquillity has had a remarkable run in the heavy metal scene, and with the response to the new record, it seems like the future is really bright! Is 2013 going to be the biggest year for the band yet?
MH: No idea – it’s impossible to know. Being a pretty cynical guy, and knowing just how bad the state of the music industry is as the moment, I’m not sure what “big” is anymore, but I do believe that “Construct” is our most relevant album in many years and that it truly brings something new to the table, so I hope that there will be an audience for it.
MM: Very cool! Do you have anything else you’d like to say to the fans out there?
MH: Well, thanks for your support and see you on the road very soon!
After a five year hiatus, Extol recently revealed that their new self-titled album will be released on June 25th (one day earlier internationally) via Indie Recordings! As for the direction of the new material, the press release states that the record “is a like a complex metallic alloy. The playfulness of the songs and the brutal bonding of genres are transformed into a fusion of atmospheric and harmonic prog rock, merged with the tempered thrash and death metal that EXTOL so uniquely master. This album leads us straight to the core of EXTOL.”
Being one of my favorite bands of all time, this is AMAZING news! Extol was way ahead of their time when they first came out, so hopefully people are finally ready to fully grasp what they bring to the table and we won’t have to wait another five years for new music! Recently I got to send some questions to Peter Espevoll about the upcoming record, the metal scene and more! Check out the interview below and go pre-order the new album here!
Metal Mark- First off, thank you for taking out the time to answer of few of my questions! After a five year hiatus, June 25th sees the release of your self-titled record to the world. After the break, and all the work going into the album, is there anyone more excited to have this album out than you guys?
Peter Espevoll- Looks like many people are excited about this, but we are for sure very excited ourselves, and extremely happy to finally do a new record!
MM- Why, after five years, was this the right time to get back together and start playing together again?
PE- We´ve talked about it several times over the last 5 years, but it wasn’t before now that we all felt ready to fully commit to it. We all have had other obligations and challenges, both personal and music-wise, but now the timing was pretty good for all of us.
MM- Our first taste of new music came with “Open The Gates,” which definitely encompasses all of Extol’s previous material. Is this the best representation of what people can expect from the upcoming release?
PE- As always on an Extol album, the song will be quite diverse, so I guess “Open the Gates” represents the album, as much as any of the other songs would do. It´s probably one of the songs with the most obvious 70´s inspiration though.
MM- For you personally, did you approach your vocal styles and lyrics any differently than you had on previous records?
PE- I was actually a little bit anxious about the vocals before this one. I havent been doing any hard music over the last 5-6 years and on the new record we wanted to do more old school death metal stuff, like we did in our early days. So, to be honest I wasnt really sure whether I still had it in me you know. But, after doing a demo for the first couple of songs, I was quite convinced it would be sweet, and personally I´m really satisfied with how it turned out. Lyrically, the approach was much the same as it has been earlier; writing and adapting the lyrics to the final composed songs.
MM- When it comes to the new record, are there any surprises, musically or vocally, that may shock some fans?
PE- Hm. Hard to tell. I dont know what the fans really expect, since we havent been around for many years. I guess some might be “shocked” about the fact that David (drummer) is doing some very cool vocals (both screaming and clean singing) on the new album!
MM- “Open The Gates” is such a strong song to release as the first track for people to hear, but do you have a personal favorite track that you are truly proud of and people should be on the lookout for?
PE- I´m really satisfied with all the songs, but if I should pick one I think it might be “A Gift Beyond Human Reach”.
MM- Extol created a very, unique sound when the band first came out, and it seemed almost too outside the box for some. Do you feel people are more open to the unique mixture of styles that you bring to the table now?
PE- Considering the response we´ve gotten on “Open The Gates” it surely seems like people are open for our way of making music. To be honest I´m not too updated on how the metal scene has evolved tha last years, but hopefully even more people will enjoy this new album!
MM- Extol has been very influential in many bands careers, yet have still flown under the radar for a lot of fans, is this the album that will finally break you and give you the respect that us long time fans feel you deserve?
PE- Hehe. Whether we “break” or not is sort of out of our control. We just want to make the best music we can make, and we´ll just see what comes out of it.
MM- For us diehard Extol fans, with the new record, we have to know if there are tours in the works. For me personally, will we see you in the States soon?
PE- As of now, nothing is planned, and it doesnt look like we´ll be touring much. But one should never say never..
MM- I’ll leave this part open to you. Anything else you’d like to say to the fans out there?
PE- Thank you so much for the support you´ve given us over the years and for all the positive comments on our return! We truly appreciate it!! Thank you and hope you´ll pick up our new album when it´s out in June!
When it comes to the best metal bands that have come out in the last ten years, it’s hard to find a better one than Revocation. From their albums to their live show, these guys are truly in a league of their own. As we approach another new record from the band this summer, I am beyond stoked to see what the future has for them! They obviously have the talent and passion for the music, so I feel it’s only a matter of time before they get the massive breakthrough that they full deserve!
Last week I caught these guys live in New York City and it was the best show I’ve ever seen from them! I’ve been to numerous shows of theirs in Atlanta, but the energy of the NYC show was unreal! My mind is still blown! After the blistering set I got to speak with David and Phil about the new record, tour life and much more! Plus there’s a hilarious video bomb by Ben of Goatwhore! As with my previous Revocation interviews, you never know what to expect!
Ever since I first saw Goatwhore live back in 2009, they quickly became one of my favorite bands on the planet. As each new record has been released, they just get better and better. The riffs have become more tighter, the transitions are more insane, the rhythm section is completely relentless and they’ve even thrown in more solos on recent records as well! They are one of those bands that are bringing their own style of metal to the scene and it’s paid off with a dedicated fan base all over the world. Leading the assault from the front is vocalist Ben Falgoust, who has quickly become one of the elite front men in the metal scene. His energy on stage is unlike anyone else! After seeing them for the 15th time last week in New York City, I truly believe that this band is unstoppable! Their live set was out of control and I can’t wait for the next one already!
Before their set I got to sit down for my fifth interview with the Goatwhore front man, and as always, the jokes start flying right away. Our interviews have become well known for our Saints/Falcons banter, and there’s more of that in here for ya! Plus, he talks about the recent tour, their legendary trailer, new material and much more! Enjoy the hilarity below!
Arsis released their latest masterpiece, “Unwelcome” last week to the metal masses and it’s a record I can’t stop listening to! Having been a longtime fan of this band’s work, it truly sounds like the most complete Arsis album to date! The riffs are unrelenting, the solos are mind blowing, and the rhythm section is a non-stop assault on your senses from the first track to the last! Arsis has always been one of the most underrated bands in metal, but hopefully with such a solid record like “Unwelcome” out there, these guys will finally get the respect they deserve!
I was lucky enough to catch Arsis on their first show with Krisiun here in New York City, and after many beers and thrashing in the front row, I caught up with the guys for a brief interview that you can read below! They talk about the new record, touring, their newest members and more! Enjoy the chat below and go get “Unwelcome” today!
Metal Mark- Tonight was the first night of the new tour with Krisiun, how’d you feel about the show?
MM- Being the first show with the new record, where there any nerves before the set tonight?
JM- Yea, being the first show of the tour there are a little nerves inside, but you just gotta get over it. I feel, by the end of the tour, I’m usually a lot better than the beginning, but I think that’s how most bands are.
NM- Once you get the gears in motion, things go more smoothly, but I thought tonight went great for a first night!
MM- Not only is this the first date of the tour, but the new record, “Unwelcome”, came out this week as well! Now I have to ask about what you said in the press release James. Instead of saying it’s the heaviest or fastest record, like a lot of bands do, you said it’s the most sincere. What exactly did you mean by that?
JM- Yea a lot of people were kind of taken back by that, but I think it’s sincere on many levels. While writing the record, Noah and I never were really trying to write the fastest or most technical riff like we may have done in the past, we were just writing what we felt and enjoyed for the first time. With “We Are The Nightmare,” I was very focused on writing the craziest and most technical riffs that I could, you know melt faces as they say, and I think the songwriting kind of suffered because of that. With “Starve For The Devil,” it was the complete opposite. I wanted to make it the most “cock rock” thing out there (laughs). I still laugh at some of the parts I wrote. With this one, the songwriting was way more open and easy going for us.
NM- Yea I agree. The songwriting process for the record was way more relaxed and easy going than previous Arsis records. Once we got a lot of the parts together, Shawn came into the mix, and we knocked it out in about three months. After that Brandon came in and put some of the most ridiculous guitar parts of the music and it all came together really well.
MM- You mention the additions of Brandon and Shawn coming back into the mix. What have they brought to the table to help Arsis reach this new level?
NM- I think that having these two guys with us now drastically changed the chemistry in the band. From the songwriting to playing live, it’s just super fun to have these two on stage with us.
JM- For me, just knowing that Shawn was playing the drums on the record gave us the freedom to write whatever the hell we wanted to because we knew how talented he was behind the kit ya know. Nothing was ever too complicated or too difficult for him and that helped us a lot. He also helped a lot with arrangements too, which is crazy for a drummer, so that didn’t hurt either (laughs). When it comes to Brandon, I mean you saw him tonight, the kid is just stupid good. The stuff he comes up with is mind blowing and it really pushes me to make myself better, which is more than I could ever ask for from someone in our band.
MM- Exactly! So you’ve said already that it’s the most sincere record, but after hearing all of this, would you say that this is the most complete Arsis record ever too? In my opinion, it really is.
JM- I think so yea. I really do. It’s the closest thing to what I envisioned Arsis to be when we started out years ago ya know. I don’t think it’s that far off from our earliest stuff, but the maturity and musicianship is definitely a step up, so I couldn’t be more happy with it.
MM- Well you didn’t play it tonight, but I have to ask about the cover song on the record. “”Sunglasses at Night” by singer Corey Hart. Where the hell did that come from?
JM- Actually Noah had been wanting to cover that song for, I think, six years now, so uh why the hell not?
MM- Do you have a special memory with that song or what?
NM- (Laughs) No, I just thought it would be a cool cover. I don’t really know why, but it’s always stuck out to me and I’ve always felt it needed to be an Arsis song for some reason (laughs).
JM- Yea we were at the studio and he had the first riffs and parts written, and I couldn’t believe it (laughs). It was so badass ya know. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we think it turned out awesome. It was definitely Noah’s brainchild though for sure.
MM- What was your first impression when they told you that you would be covering a Corey Hart song?
BE- I was very skeptical to say the least (laughs). I mean after the mixed response to “cock rock” Arsis, they decide to cover this song out of all songs (laughs). I was pretty worried, but once I heard it, I knew that it was going to be something awesome and now I feel better about the whole thing.
SP- Yea I agree. They sent me like three cover options and the last once I expected them to choose was “Sunglasses At Night.” I think one was Pat Benatar, and for some reason that made more sense to me at the time (laughs). So I heard the beginning parts, threw some blasts over that, and it slowly came together in a pretty awesome way. I just wanted to make it insane as fuck and it came out way better than what I expected at least (laughs).
MM- Yea I think it’s fucking killer! I also like how you didn’t put it at the end of the record too, like most people do with covers. You threw it right in the middle and there ya go!
JM- Yea why not. Just own it (laughs).
NM- Go big or go home! (laughs)
MM- Will we ever hear that Pat Benatar cover?
JM- Maybe in the future! We’ll see! Why not?!
MM- Why not!? Well thank you guys for taking out the time after the show to speak with me. Do you have any final words you’d like to say to the fans?
JM- Logging off is a good euphemism for taking a shit. (laughs) SP- I don’t even know how to follow that. (laughs) NM- Come rage with us at the shows! We promise you’ll have a good time! BE- “Unwelcome” is out now. Go pick up the record if you dig our stuff and come check us out on the road. We promise to put everything we have into every set and we want to see people raging in the crowd. So we hope to see you soon!