Over the past few years I have taken several road trips up to New York City for shows, friend’s birthdays, and many other reasons. One thing I always enjoy about my trips are hearing about the local metal acts and who I should be on the lookout for. Luckily, my brother from NYC, Tim No37 knows it all! One of the many bands that deserves everyone’s attention is Alekhine’s Gun from Brooklyn. Sam previously talked about them in his “New York City…There’s Something Happening Here” blog, so you know they are doing something right! Fronted by the electrifying Jessica Pimentel and backed by the musical onslaught of Jeff Martinez, Daniel Martinez and Angel Cotte, this band’s sound is a great mixture of all styles of metal and it’s a refreshing thing to hear in the scene today. I was able to get my hands on Alekhine’s Gun‘s EP, “Meditations In Wrath” on my last trip to New York and it’s been punishing my speakers ever since I returned home. Recently I was lucky enough to get a quick interview with Jessica about the band, the EP, and more! You can check out the interview below and get all the Alekhine’s Gun you can handle! Take my word for it, they will be a force in the metal scene for years to come, and I don’t say that about many bands!
MM- For those that haven’t heard your music yet, how would you best describe the style of the group?
JP: My favorite description of our style was written by Curran Reynolds of Today Is The Day and Wetnurse: “The spirit of NYC’s metallic hardcore of the 90s, from Burn to Indecision, taken and shoved deep down the Death Metal rabbit hole!”
My second favorite description is “Hardcore blackened death thrash” When I first heard that I thought.. well that’s almost everything isn’t it? Then I thought… Good.
MM- Alekhine’s Gun just unleashed the “Meditations In Wrath” EP to the masses and I absolutely love it. Briefly talk about the recording process and the title of the EP, because it’s an interesting title for sure.
JP: Our EP was recorded in a very busy few days at Venture Studios(RIP) in Brooklyn by Dan Pfeffer. It was mixed by Ryan Jones (Today is the Day, Mutilation Rites) And Mastered by John Lamacchia (Candiria).
As for the title: The 4 songs on the EP deal with the Fierce side of Buddhism. Two of the songs are named for Buddhist Dharmapalas (protectors) Vajrapani and Palden Lhamo. These characters are NO JOKE. They are the embodiment of wrath. They are the epitome of a bodyguard to Tibetan Buddhists and will DESTROY anything and anyone that gets in the way of righteousness. Meditating on these deities aids, protects and teaches us compassion and how to overcome anger.
Many people hear the word Buddhist and automatically picture some hippie/slacker wishy washy type person when in fact most Buddhists I know are quite tough. You have to be really tough in order to truly apply this stuff to your life. I think we all know that doing the right thing is usually a lot harder than letting people and circumstances get the best of you. It takes a lot of mental fortitude and strong will. The other two songs deal with Death and the what happens after death (Bardo) and letting go of attachment (Gutwrench) whether that is to people, places or things or your actual life itself. The first thing you’re taught as a Buddhist is that life is suffering. We try to tell stories about that suffering and how to overcome it.
MM: Is there one track that means more to you than any other?
JP: “Gutwrench” is the most personal song to me on that album. It’s based on the struggles my friends endured through the process of divorce from people who abused, and cheated on them. It is also about the pain of ending a long relationship and ending friendships with people who were too heavy into drugs or bad lifestyles to be helped.
It is also based on several Bodhisattva vows like cutting someone off when it is time to do so and breaking the vows out of compassion when keeping the vow brings more harm. Sometimes the best thing you can do to help someone and show them true love is to leave them. Sometimes letting go of someone you love can be the hardest and most painful thing even though that person has done you wrong. Sometimes your love exceeds your good reason and good judgement. Sometimes, constantly helping someone over and over that doesn’t want to or can’t change doesn’t help them at all. Your Love and help becomes a crutch for them to continue their bad behavior and you watch them ruin their lives more and more. They get weaker and weaker… so do you… There comes a point you have to let go before it ruins your life too. This song talks about coming to terms with that painful decision. Some vows that we make to ourselves or others at some point in life help to continue cycles of negative destructive behavior and must be broken for the greater good and happiness of all.
JP: You can expect in your face, powerful, raw energy… Honesty, dirty, real, playing from the pit of our stomach, the bottom of or hearts and the end of a fist. I always say, if there is a “pretty” picture of me during a performance, then I didn’t do my job. Everyone in the band holds down their position to the fullest and gives their all every time. I think you’ll feel that.
JP: What makes us unique is that although we all essentially love the same music we each have our own specific genres that we focus on and influence us more than others. From Classical to NYHC. Death metal to rock and roll. Slow doom to wild thrash. We combine all the things we love without ever giving in too far to one sub genre or the other and I;m sure you can hear the nods to those styles in every song. Also Lyrically, a lot of our songs are based on Tibetan Buddhist themes something very important and personal to me. Everything we write we write straight from the heart and soul and hopefully that’s where it hits the audience.
Many thanks to Jessica for taking the time out for the quick interview! The band is on a little break, but will return with a force on August 18th at Champinships in Trenton, NJ with Givethemrope, and August 19th at St. Vitus in Brooklyn with Single Bullet Theory and Into Eternity. GO SEE THEM!