Help Wanted: Factory Damage seeks new bassist

And now, a message for bass players in the Owensboro area.

Owensboro band Factory Damage is seeking a bass player. Longtime band bassist Jack Midkiff recently decided to leave performance behind, but will still be working behind the scenes on promotion and the Factory Damage Web site. Jack’s a very cool guy, so I certainly wish him well.

In case you don’t know, Factory Damage had the track “The End Times” included on Dark Sky Records’ “Underground Rising” compilation disc, which was released world-wide. Last fall, the band also performed in Louisville, as one of the opening acts for Warbringer

Here’s the band’s “bassist wanted” ad from their Myspace page:

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

Are you the one?
Category: Music

We are in search of a Bass Player. Auditions will begin within the next 2 weeks.
The ideal candidate must have:
*Own equipment (Gear must be stage ready).
*Must be talented, with the ability to help write new material. 
*Must be a “fast” learner.
*Must have stage presence, and be open-minded towards new musical direction.
*Must have a background in Metal/Thrash/Progressive…etc.

All tunes on the Myspace player (Old & New) will give you a taste of what we do.
If you’re interested or know someone who might be, drop us a line on Myspace, or www.factorydamage.com , or moofaster@hotmail.com
Were looking forward to hearing from YOU!
Best Wishes!
Factory Damage

Interview: Peter Wildoer of Darkane

Darkane, with drummer Peter Wildoer (second from left)

Darkane, with drummer Peter Wildoer (second from left)

Drummer Peter Wildoer has performed in jazz combos, has studied Afro/jazz/fusion percussion and has mastered the art of improvisational drumming. When not offering music clinics to other drummers, Wildoer teaches mathematics and music in Sweden. He’s the textbook definition of “culturally well-rounded.” Musically, Wildoer would be at home playing any genre of music, on any stage.

What Wildoer most enjoys playing, however, is extreme metal, as a member of melodically brutal Darkane.

“I think it’s pure energy,” Wildoer said. “I just love the energy of metal music.” 

Metal suffers from a “This Is Spinal Tap” misconception – a general belief that metal is simple music made by simple minds. But Wildoer said when people who aren’t metal fans see Darkane’s live attack, they at least gain an appreciation for the intricacies of metal music.

“When they see it live, they often get that performance is not easy,” Wildoer said. “It takes a lot of hard work to play this kind of music.”

Darkane are currently touring the U.S. in support of the just-released “Demonic Art,” which landed on Billboard’s Heatseekers (top new artist) chart in its first week of release. 

The band will play Uncle Pleasants in Louisville on March 18, with Soilwork, Swallow The Sun and Warbringer. Tickets are $15 and are on sale at www.ticketweb.com.

Sweden is a hotbed for uber-talented metal bands, but Darkane’s technical precision, musical intelligence and raw, bare-knuckled power put them on equal footing with In Flames, Soilwork and other Swedish greats.

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Jazz and metal may seem incompatible, but Wildoer sees a connection that both metal and jazz purists have probably never considered. Namely, jazz and metal are the freest genres of music.

“In metal music, you can do whatever … you can even incorporate reggae if you want,” Wildoer said. “As a drummer, you’re often very free to do what you want to do. In old jazz records, like John Coltrane, you can find the same energy.

“(Jazz was) the metal music of the ’50s,” Wildoer said. “They were the rebels of their time, like metal music is today.”

The band’s first four albums were recorded with vocalist Andreas Sydow. When Sydow left the band in late 2007, the remaining members immediately tapped Jens Broman to handle vocals.

For a band that was flagging in energy at the time, Broman proved to be an inspired choice, Wildoer said.

“After 10 years, we kind of needed an injection, and Jens brought that,” Wildoer said. “It was hard to get started (recording “Demonic Art”) and Jens really injected that fuel into the band.”

While Darkane and Sydow parted on good terms, Broman’s intensity as a frontman has added a new dimension to the band, Wildoer said.

“Compared to Andreas, (Jens is) a bit more aggressive sounding,” he said. ” … Especially live, Jens has a very strong voice … I think Jens has a very good strength. Jens was the perfect pick for us. He has grown into the band.”

Most of Darkane’s music is written in collaboration between Wildoer, guitarists Christofer Malmstrom and Klas Ideberg – although Broman also stepped up to the job by penning lyrics for two of the songs.

“Klas has his own riffing style and Christofer has his. I put in my own thing, and that’s what makes Darkane,” Wildoer said. “Demonic Art” is the band’s fifth album, and is a clear indication that Darkane has found the signature sound that began to emerge on 2005’s “Layers of Lies.”

“To me, (“Demonic Art”) seems like a natural progression from ‘Layers of Lies,'” Wildoer said. “It’s faster and more furious, but I think it is a natural evolution.

“Definitely there’s a Darkane sound on the last two records and we’re very happy with that,” he said.

When not recording with Darkane or performing with other bands, Wildoer engineers and mixes other bands in the studio.

“I’m very interested in recording. I love being in the studio, man,” he said. “But being (on tour) and meeting people, that’s very nice. That’s the coolest thing about playing music.”

On occasion, Wildoer meets other drummers who cite him as an influence. The experience is humbling, Wildoer said.

“To me, I’m just Peter from my little home town,” he said. “It is so weird to have traveled all around the world. I’m more than honored to be able to do what I do. It’s a privlege to travel around the world with my music.”

For aspiring drummers, Wildoer offered some advice.

“When you’re a beginner, you really haven’t (realized) how much you have to learn,” he said. “… The more you get to learn and get to hear different drummers, the more you realize how much there is to learn.

“Create your own personality musically,” Wildoer said. “There are people who are more technical, but to me, I think personality (is key).”

The tour with Soilwork  has been great, Wildoer said, which stands to reason: The two bands have a long connection – Soilwork vocalist “Speed” Strid added vocals to the first Darkane album, and Soilwork has recorded in the studio where Darkane takes up residence.

 But the tour has also been grueling, with show after show and no break from traveling or the stage. That’s all right with Wildoer, since Darkane are still working to prove themselves to American audiences.

“We’re not that well-known, but I think have a kind of appeal,” Wildoer said. ” … I think (the tour) is a very good package. I’d say (audiences) are in for a treat.”

Speaking of the Darkane/Soilwork tour, you can read a recent interview with Soilwork guitarist Peter Wilchers here.

For more info about Darkane, including full songs from “Demonic Art,” visit www.myspace.com/darkane.

Review: Mantic Ritual “Executioner”

It’s simple to review very good albums and very bad ones.

If I like an album, then all I have to do is discuss the highlights and technical details. Reviewing a bad album is a bit more complex, since I usually try to support my dislike with evidence (poor musicianship and/or songwriting, lousy production, etc.) – but the reasons are all already right there on the disc. I just have to point them out.

A middling review, however, is a much bigger challenge … which brings me to the debut Mantic Ritual album “Executioner,” an album that is well-played, tightly-crafted, decently produced – and totally lacking in originality.

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Mantic Ritual, striking their best "Reign in Blood-era" Slayer pose

Mantic Ritual’s inability to break new ground isn’t unique. Rather, it’s chronic in the whole thrash metal revival movement of which the Pennsylvania band is a part.

Now, people will say the lack of originality is the whole point of the thrash revival – that it’s a return to thrash’s heyday, that “heavy time, from ’85 to ’89,” to quote Anthrax. If Mantic Ritual went all “Progressive Nation” on us, it wouldn’t be retro-thrash, would it?

That’s true. “Executioner” is not meant to be original: It is meant to wave the old Metallica/Megadeth/Exodus/Slayer banner while chugging beer and flashing the horns, just like the kids in “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.” In that, it succeeds very well: In fact, I’d say it’s the most successful homage to “Kill ‘Em All” era-Metallica I have ever heard. Did these guys get their start as a “vintage” Metallica tribute band?

 Everything about “Executioner” seems designed to mimic “Kill ‘Em All” and, to a lesser extent, “Reign in Blood.” Vocalist/guitarist Dan Wetmore does a pretty accurate young James Hetfield imitation, all the way down to the barked “all right!” at the opening of “Panic,” a song which bears more than a slight resemblance to “Metal Militia.”

I admit the comparisons are unfair, but I found myself thinking, “what band are they trying to sound like now?” as I went track to track. “One By One” has a Exodus feel with a “Four Horsemen” time change thrown in for good measure. “Murdered To Death” would fit very well on your iPod next to Slayer’s “Piece By Piece” or “Black Magic,” with Wetmore spitting out the lyrics like a certain Slayer front man you, me and obviously Wetmore know and dig so much.

Every track here sounds like the work of other bands. I didn’t notice any overt Megadeth or Anthrax references, but if someone were to point a few out to me, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Musically, the sound here is flawless. The riffs are solid if not exactly inspiring, the musicianship is tight, the solos blaze in a style I’d describe as Kirk Hammettesque and the drumming is frenetic. Wetmore’s vocals are well-delivered and the production sounds like Johnny Z did it himself in 1984. If you like retro-thrash, there’s much here you’ll enjoy.

The problem I have with “Executioner” is simple – I already own, “Kill ‘Em All,” “Reign in Blood,” and all the other ’80s thrash albums the guys in Mantic Ritual are emulating here. Having all of the original discs, I don’t need a copy, even a well-executed one.

Ultimately , whether you’ll enjoy “Executioner” will depend on your feelings toward the entire retro-thrash movement. Either you think it’s a welcome return of the old school, or it’s unnecessary copy-catting of older, better material. Obviously, I fall into the second camp, which isn’t necessarily fair to Mantic Ritual, but oh well.

From listening repeatedly to “Executioner,” I’m impressed enough with the musicianship to not write Mantic Ritual off entirely … but it’s obvious these guys are capable of a little more than slavish aping of their idols. Perhaps, with more time to perform and write, the band will develop its own style, or will at least rise to become something more than just the sum of their influences.

Here, decide for yourself, with the video for “One By One.”

Of censorship and metal

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Cannibal Corpse

The new Cannibal Corpse album has me thinking about censorship.

As anyone familiar with death metal history knows, the words “Cannibal Corpse” and “censorship” go together as readily as “peas” and “carrots.” Over their two decades in music, Cannibal Corpse has served as the whipping boy for conservative groups offended by the either the band’s lyrics, or by graphic art on most Corpse album covers.

The band has had material banned for a time in Germany and in Australia, and was pronounced morally abhorrent in 1995 by Republican Sen. Bob Dole (who, perhaps not coincidentally, was preparing to run for president). In 2006, an unsuccessful effort was made to prevent the band from performing in Perth, Australia.

Admittedly, some of Corpse’s material is pretty grotesque. The cover art on most the band’s albums is gory and the song titles and lyrics are “torture porn” nasty. A quick Wiki search calls up a number of unappetizing Corpse song titles, such as “Stripped, Raped and Strangled,” “Dismembered and Molested,” “Meat Hook Sodomy” and “Murder Worship.”

My goal here is not to defend Cannibal Corpse’s lyrical choices. They do a fine job defending themselves, so they don’t need me: In the documentary “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey,” band vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher describes the band’s music as art – and noted that other forms of art can be equally disturbing and violent.

But a recent debate on Blabbermouth.net, made me wonder: When does art become corrosive to society? Even if that line doesn’t exist, do we have an obligation to protect younger members of society from controversial art?

The first question has been debated, probably, for centuries – and art is often made a scapegoat when violent acts are committed. Marilyn Manson was handed the blame in 1999, when teenagers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 13 students and injured 24 others at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. As it happened, neither Harris or Klebold were Marilyn Manson fans – a fact that did not prevent critics from blaming Manson for the massacre.

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson

The problem with blaming Manson for Columbine, or Cannibal Corpse for any murder, is not only that it’s too simple, but that it singles out a specific genre of art while letting other, equally violent types of art skate past untouched.

Even if Harris and Klebold had been Marilyn Manson fans, why was Manson the only artist singled out for public persecution and media castigation? Had Harris and Klebold never seen a violent movie or television show?

By the standards that the media applied against Manson, the director of every movie and TV show Harris and Klebold had ever seen should have been blamed as well. But I don’t remember anyone attempting to pin the guilt on Francis Ford Coppola or Martin Scorsese.

The scape-goating of metal continues today. Blabbermouth.net, the “CNN of metal,” is good at scooping up stories from the mainstream media, and is quick to post articles where reporters mention a killer was a fan of, say, Slipknot or Disturbed … as if a killer has never been a country music or jazz fan.

The truth of the post-Columbine witch hunt, as Manson himself said in an article written for Rolling Stone magazine, is that people want easy, black and white answers to tragedies like school shootings. Nothing is easier than pointing a finger at someone else. Metal is a ready-made target, because of its less-than-mainstream status.

I think it’s convenient for certain segments of the media – and for religious or conservative groups – to blame Manson or Cannibal Corpse (or Ozzy or Judas Priest or Slipknot) for violence because those artists are part of a genre that is outside conventional culture – and, indeed, metal is a reaction against popular culture and conventional thinking. Not surprisingly, then, metal is misunderstood by the general public.

In other words, metal is already an “other” in the eyes of public – a fact that makes it easier to demonize.

But if conservatives are so shocked and horrified by “Stripped, Raped and Strangled” that they feel the need to ban the sale of Cannibal Corpse in Aussie, German and even American record stores, the question must be asked: Do they take the same offense over Shakespeare?

The comparison fits, so bear with me. While a song like “Stripped, Raped and Strangled” is certainly violent, it’s no more so than, say, Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus,” where Titus’ daughter Lavinia is raped, has her tongue cut out and her hands and feet cut off, just for good measure. And that’s not even the worst of the play’s violence (people getting baked into pies – that’s what I call “brutal”). Stabbings and killings abound in Shakespeare, from Caesar’s execution by multiple daggers to MacBeth’s severed head and Claudius’ death by both poison and blade.

What’s the difference between Shakespeare and Cannibal Corpse? In short, Shakespeare is considered “art” by the mainstream, while Corpse – as an “other” – is dangerous.

Banning Shakespeare sounds ludicrous … but I’d say, if Cannibal Corpse or any other metal band can be successfully removed from store shelves, than it’s only a matter of time before those same guardians of morality come for Shakespeare, too. People who want to ban Cannibal Corpse are people who will eventually call for removal of Shakespeare from school libraries. In both cases, they’ll cite the violent content and claim they are “protecting” children.

But, everyone will agree, children need to be protected. As a recent poster on Blabbermouth.net said, record labels should take care to cover up violent images on album covers, so children (who have eyes, and can easily see across the record store aisle to the metal section), aren’t subjected to scary images.

 That doesn’t mean album covers should be censored completely: Cannibal Corpse has demonstrated good sense on this issue, by encasing some of their albums in a disposable sleeve. The sleeve covers the art work, but can be easily removed when the buyer gets the album home. No one’s artistic expression is abridged: Rather, the art work ends up being appreciated by its intended audience, while not causing fright to small children.

As for violent lyrics, it would seem that the first line of defense is at home, with parents. I think Cannibal Corpse are talented musicians, but I wouldn’t let my kid listen to the band’s music – just as I wouldn’t let her watch “Halloween” or “Scarface.” Since there is no way for society-at-large to protect every single child from potentially “offensive” material without abridging the rights to adults, it really must be up to parents to limit their kids’ access to certain forms of art. That takes more effort than simply slapping a ban on an artist, but it’s the only workable solution.

“Osbournes Reloaded” = Ozzy’s continued career suicide solution

I know I should just leave Ozzy’s catastrophically disgraceful new television show, “The Osbornes Reloaded” alone. You already know about this debacle, so there’s nothing more I can say. But it’s like a infected scab: It’s bloody and gross and full of stinky yellow pus, but I just can’t help but pick at it …

This is why Tony Iommi jumped off the Black Sabbath perpetual reunion/Ozzfest circuit and went back to working with Dio. Ozzy has pooped on his credibility so many times it’s hard to believe there was an era when we actually took him seriously.

If I still owned an Ozzy album, I’d have to smash it now, just to save face. Here, see for yourself.

Ozzy, please, for the love of all that’s unholy, freakin’ retire already, and take those talentless hangers-on with you when you go. You know who I’m talking about – they call themselves your family.

Carcass coming to Louisville on March 17

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I posted this on the Upcoming Shows page a couple weeks ago, but just in case you missed the big news … Carcass – yes, those medical-book-reading, ultra-technical-death metal masters – will be playing Headliner’s in Louisville on March 17

I don’t know how this happened, either, but it’s pretty amazing. It’s another Terry Harper show, of course: Terry’s turned L’ville into metal Mecca over the past few years.

Opening the show is Suicide Silence, Arsis, Psycroptic and Samael. Tix are $25 and are on sale at www.ticketweb.com

Now go be happy. Oh yeah, there’s the video for “Heartwork.”

Nikki Sixx browbeats audience member, proving he’s a whiny little baby

In case you ever wondered if Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx was really as big of a schmuck as he seems, here’s proof: Watch Nikki throw a bottle into the crowd and then get mad when a woman throws it back.

Nikki then pouts as he waits for security to throw her out. Wow, Nikki’s a diva – a sad, sad, classless diva.

Jeeze, not even Skwisgaar behaves this badly.

Anyway, here’s the vid (Oh, by the way, watch at your own risk cuz it contains Offensive Language. Nikki is not exactly a master of the spoken word, after all …)

And Nikki? That quip about Motley Crue making new music? Please don’t.