Here’s the video for “Mouth Into Flame,” the second track from the upcoming album, “Hardwired … To Self-Destruct.”
I like it, but I’m biased in favor of most things Metallica. See what you thing.
The original line-up of Fates Warning performed the entire “Awaken the Guardian” album last week at the ProgPower USA fest in Atlanta.
Although “Awaken the Guardian” was released in the 1980s — and although the band has been recording acclaimed prog metal albums in the decades since — progressive metal people who heard “Guardian” have long held that the album was truly something special.
I consider “Awaken the Guardian” one of my “essential albums.” If you’re curious, or just are looking to kill some time, you can find my review of the album here.
So it’s awesome to see the “Guardian” era band — John Arch (vocals), Jim Matheos (guitar), Frank Aresti (guitar), Joe DiBiase (bass) and Steve Zimmerman (drums) performing together once again. Arch, in particular, retired from music for the most part, except for a couple of pairings with Matheos — particularly the excellent Arch/Matheos album “Sympathetic Resonance” in 2011.
Norrsken Photography videotaped the entire 90 minute set, which includes every note of “Guardian” and several Arch-era Fates tracks. Here’s the set. Enjoy.
A lawsuit filed by a Muhlenberg County man who was jailed for eight days after posting song lyrics on his Facebook page has been settled.
Muhlenberg County and Michael A. Drake, a school resource officer for the Muhlenberg County Police Department, agreed to settle the lawsuit, which was filed by James E. Evans, who was charged with terroristic threatening after posting lyrics from the heavy metal song, “Class Dismissed: A Hate Primer” by the band Exodus on his Facebook page in August 2014.
Evans posted the lyrics, from a song about school shootings by the band Exodus, on his page on Aug. 24. Evans posted the song’s chorus: “Student bodies lying dead in the halls/A blood splattered treatise of hate/Class dismissed is my hypothesis/Gun fire ends the debate/All I ever wanted was a little affection/But no one ever gave it to me/My hate primer’s the result of my rejection/You’ll die for it, and I’ll die for thee.”
Court records say law enforcement became aware of the post that day, and Evans was interviewed by Central City police. Court documents say Central City officers didn’t charge Evans with a crime.
Drake filed an affidavit for probable cause against Evans on Aug. 25, writing that Evans committed terroristic threatening by “threatening to kill students and or staff at school.”
The complaint filed by Evans says Drake “did not provide any details about the alleged crime.” State law says to qualify as first-degree terroristic threatening, a threat must include a false statement that a person “has placed a weapon of mass destruction” on public property or school property. A person who places a simulated weapon of mass destruction can also be charged with first-degree terroristic threatening.
Evans was held in jail for eight days after his arrest before the criminal charge against him was dismissed. Evans filed suit, with the American Civil Liberties Union representing him, alleging Drake “knowingly and intentionally made a material misstatement of fact” when preparing the probable cause affidavit that led to Evans’ arrest.
The settlement agreement says the county and Drake agreed to pay Evans $60,001. Evans could not be reached last week for comment.
William Sharp, an ACLU attorney who represented Evans in the suit, said the settlement should send a message about how online speech is also protected by the First Amendment.
“I can’t speak for the defendants, and I don’t think they would concede they were in the wrong,” Sharp said. “But I think, at the end of the day, there was an enforceable judgement against them … that folks can draw from what they will.
“We think the financial settlement is substantial,” Sharp said. “… The ACLU of Kentucky are hopeful the message it sends to officials, that violation of speech rights online can be an expensive proposition.”
The attorney representing Muhlenberg County and Drake could not be reached Friday for comment.
Brujeria, the extreme grind and thrash collective that has featured members from bands like Faith No More, Fear Factory and Napalm Death, hasn’t put out much new music in the past 15 years. But the band hasn’t been idle.
The band reformed in 2007 — but with other commitments, getting everyone in the same room, or studio, takes work. Whenever the band members have time in their schedules, they have been recording songs for their upcoming attack “Pocho Aztlan.”
Earlier this year, the band also belted out the Record Store Day single “Viva Presidente Trump!” a violent yet hilarious take on the the candidate who made vilifying people from Mexico and Central America such a large part of his campaign. The single sold out so fast that not even the band members got a copy.
Juan Brujo, the band’s lead vocalist, said much of “Pocho Aztlan” — which translates as “wasted promised land” — was in the can before Trump’s controversial political rhetoric swept over America.
“The album was done before the Trump stuff. It was just waiting to come out,” Brujo said during a quick phone interview to promote the new album. “That’s why we did the single — we want (Trump) to win so we can go to war with him as president.”
Although Trump’s influence won’t be felt on “Pocho Aztlan,” a Trump victory in November will stir the fire in the band, Brujo said.
“Then, you’ll see a record come really quick, and be very politically minded,” Brujo said.
“Pocho Aztlan” could have different meanings for different people. But for Brujo — who was born in the United States but is of Mexican heritage — “Pocho Aztlan” is personal, and is more about being a stranger in a strange land, no matter which side of the border he is on.
“I’m a Mexican born in the U.S., and all my life I’ve heard, ‘go back to Mexico, you don’t belong here,'” Brujo said. Meanwhile, “pocho” is a slur used by Mexican citizens to describe U.S.-born Mexican-Americans.
“When I go to Mexico, the Mexicans call me trash. They don’t want me there either,” Brujo said. “I’ve never felt at home anywhere.”
Although the band has been known to take a lighter turn, with songs like “Don Quijote Marihuana” and “Marijuana” (an insane yet strangely faithful twisting of “Macarena” into an ode to weed), there won’t be any humorous moments on “Pocho Aztlan,” Brujo said. Songs like that are only made “when there are a couple of cases of beer laying around,” he said.
With everyone busy with other bands, the songwriting process was most done in the studio. “It’s really hard to get everyone together, so we’d write and record songs the same day,” Brujo said.
With a blistering attack like “Viva Presidente Trump!” it should be clear Brujo and Brujeria aren’t afraid to take on controversial subjects or offend.
“We tell the stories of what it’s like on the border where we live, and try to get people’s attention. because it’s real and it’s out there,” he said.
Brujeria will be criss-crossing the U.S. beginning on Sept. 18 and through October, before heading for a string of dates in Europe. As for the band’s future after that, well, that depends what happens this fall, Brujo said.
“We want to do some shows and have fun,” Brujo said. Regarding a new album after “Pocho Aztlan,” recording “will just be the same thing, unless we get a new president called Donald Trump,” Brujo said. “I don’t think that will be a good thing — and people will have to know what’s going on from our end.”
“Pocho Aztlan” will be released Sept. 16. You can find Brujeria’s tour dates here.
Australia’s Be’Lakor does not make great party music. That’s actually a compliment.
Now, I have nothing at all against party music — I have enough classic AC/DC and Aerosmith albums that fall into that category — but, generally, I like music that has a bit more heft to it. I like a song that draws my attention away from whatever I’m doing and forces me to listen.
Be’Lakor have been making music that demands concentration for years, but here in the States, they’ve been an under-the-radar band. Although the band’s excellent 2012 release “Of Breath and Bone” received a rave review from Blabbermouth.net, I’m not sure the album generated much U.S. interest, and the band has never toured the States. When people here think of Australian metal, the names that mostly come to mind are AC/DC — and to a much lesser extent, Portal and Sanzu.
Which is too bad, because Be’Lakor’s latest release “Vessels,” is a great album, full of atmosphere, intricate melodies and power. It’s heavy enough to be death metal, but melodic enough to not grate against my nerves like grind (sorry, grind fans). The band blends both exceeding heaviness with melody and the occasional acoustic interlude in a very appealing way.
I find myself wanting to write, “Be’Lakor make the best Opeth albums Opeth never made,” but that’s neither fair nor accurate. Yes, there are similarities between “Vessels” and older Opeth classics (particularly “My Arms, Your Hearse”), but Be’Lakor are not an Opeth clone. The band is making dark, melodic death metal, sure — but with their own style. Be’Lakor sound like Be’Lakor. They’re performing in the same arena as Opeth, but they’re not attempting to walk in Opeth’s shoes.
With the exception of the 90-second intro, “Luma,” and the three-minute interlude “A Thread Dissolves,” the tracks on “Vessels” are long. The shortest, “Grasping Light,” is just under seven minutes, and “Withering Strands” and “The Smoke of Many Fires” all break the nine-minute mark.
A lot of bands write songs that are long, but the songs are “Vessels” are not lengthy for the sake of length. Instead, the songs are stuffed full of ideas, that are woven together with surprising seamlessness. So many parts shouldn’t fit together so well, but here they do.
The songs seem to rush at moments, before dwindling to soft acoustic spaces. Yes, patience is required, but the band is not deliberately taxing your patience or wasting your time. The tracks are journeys, and the trip is as important as the destination. As someone once told me about a Dimmu Borgir album (which I admittedly didn’t grasp, and still don’t particularly like), “you just have to breathe the songs in.” With “Vessels,” the breathing works.
There’s not a bad track on”Vessels,” although a few stand above the rest — particularly “An Ember’s Arc,” “Whelm,” “Withering Strands” and “The Smoke of Many fires.”
With the band making the move from indie labels to the slightly larger and better financed Napalm Records, I hope Be’Lakor will be able to find a larger following. I hope so. While they’re certainly building on the melodic death metal template, Be’Lakor are strikingly original, and there are mind-blowing moments on almost every track of “Vessels.” There’s definitely an audience for this kind of music — if only the audience can find it.