HELLYEAH singer Chad Gray spoke to KISW‘s “Metal Shop” about the band’s decision to continue touring after playing its first concert with STONE SOUR drummer Roy Mayorga, who stepped in as the replacement for the late Vinnie Paul Abbott.
“We did the one show [in May] — that’s all we talked about doing after Vinnie passed — we did the one show in [Las] Vegas, and I swear to God, man, probably within the first two measures of the first song, it felt like the world had been lifted off me,” Chad recalled. “Because I felt like Vinnie was there, I felt like Dime [Vinnie Paul‘s brother, late PANTERA guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott] was there.
“I was looking out in the eyes of all those people,” he continued. “We had all been mourning for so long, and I think that that was almost like a switch for us to shut off the mourning switch and turn on the celebration switch. It was a very cathartic and therapeutic moment for me personally. And we got done, and as soon as we walked offstage, I [said to the other guys], ‘Did you see everybody? Did you see how together we were? Did you see how much that brought everybody together? We have to keep this going. We have to keep doing the good work for Vin and Dime and everybody and take this around the country so people can experience what we just experienced.’ Because I don’t think you can fully know about the mourning and grieving process until you do get in that room with those people, until you do experience that music. And experience in the name of Vinnie — what he would want. It was a beautiful, beautiful moment. So we just took it around. And every night is a new night. And we’ve had a lot of fun with it. You can see it in people’s faces. I can feel it.”
According to Gray, the spirit of his former bandmate is with HELLYEAH every time the band performs.
“I choose to believe that Vinnie is with us every night,” he said. “I choose to believe that Dime is with us every night, that Jeff Hanneman [SLAYER] is with us every night, that Chester Bennington [LINKIN PARK] is with us every night, that Chris Cornell [SOUNDGARDEN] is with us every night, that Layne Staley [ALICE IN CHAINS] is with us every night, that Kurt Cobain[NIRVANA] is with us every night, that Jimi Hendrixand Lemmy [MOTÖRHEAD] and Ronnie James [Dio] — the list goes on and on.
“Vinnie was the muse, the inspiration for this to happen, but then, every night, I’ve just kind of turned it into more about being much larger than certainly anyone in the building and much larger than even Vinnie and much larger than Dime. And those people are God-sized — they were huge, enormous personalities.”
Mayorga‘s addition to HELLYEAH was made official in early May. At the time, the band said Roy was the perfect guy to take Vinnie Paul‘s place. “These men had so much love and mutual respect for each other, this makes our transition so much easier,” HELLYEAH said in a statement.
Mayorga previously played with HELLYEAH bassist Kyle Sanders in MEDICATION, the early 2000s outfit which also featured guitarist Logan Mader (MACHINE HEAD) and singer Whitfield Crane (UGLY KID JOE).
Vinnie Paul died in June 2018 of dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. His death was the result of chronic weakening of the heart muscle — basically meaning his heart couldn’t pump blood as well as a healthy heart.
Not long before his death, Vinnie laid down the drum tracks for HELLYEAH’s sixth album, “Welcome Home”, which was released in September.
Opeth bassist Martin Mendez is about to unleash his version of death metal upon the world. Mendez has announced his new band White Stones alongside the debut album Kuarahy due out March 20. Kuarahy was written during Opeth’s year-long break after their extensive Sorceress touring schedule, said Mendez, adding that he feels White Stones has “renewed my strength and energy.”
“I’ve always written music at home but never had the confidence to do anything like this. I never wrote a song, never presented something I wrote for Mikael (Åkerfeldt, Opeth singer/songwriter). I didn’t have any direction, I came up with the first song for fun. White Stones has nothing to do with Opeth, I see no relation between the two. I played Kuarahy to Mikael a few months ago, he really liked it and was happy for me. Everyone in the band has side projects, it’s important. We tour so much you can become consumed by it; it has been really nice to do something different. White Stones has renewed my strength and energy.”
“I feel strongly connected to Uruguay still. I wanted to write music related to that – the sun on the Uruguayan flag I transformed into the White Stones logo; there are a lot of small things that connect the record to that place. Kuarahy is the native Uruguayan people’s word for ‘Sun’.”
Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
“Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” is a song by American rock group the Seeds, written by vocalist Sky Saxon and produced by Marcus Tybalt. It was released as a single in 1965 and re-issued in 1967, when it peaked at number 41 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100chart.
The song appears on the 1998 box set Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968, and has been covered by such artists as the Ramones, Alex Chilton, Johnny Thunders, Yo La Tengo, Garbage, and Rumspringa.
Guitarist Kevin Estrella’s project Pyramids On Mars has a new album being released on December 21, 2019, entitled “Edge of the Black”. The full length offers up an aural palette of intense instrumental progressive shredding rock that’s emotional, provocative and 4-dimensional.
Teaming up with MusicLegends.ca, Pyramids On Mars is premiering the next single ‘The Ambassador’ here.Estrella explains the track in further detail:“The idea for The Ambassador was actually sparked from the guitar it was played on. It is played on a Signature ‘Aurora’ Guitar. Built by the Signature Guitar Company sometime around 1987. Alex Lifeson of Rush made the guitar famous playing it exclusively for the albums “Hold Your Fire” and “Show of Hands”. Alex designed the guitar, along with Russ Heinl. What makes it unique is the balance of Basswood (from a rare variety found only in Quebec) and has the three active single-coil pickups, giving the guitar a very unique: clear, bright yet warm distinctive sound. No guitar sounds like it. It was meant to be the ultimate Superstrat. It’s almost like an acoustic guitar on hyperdrive. Only 500 Signatures were ever made. My Signature Aurora is quite unique. The original owner purchased it from Steve’s Music Store in Toronto back in the late eighties. It was a floor model. It doesn’t even have a serial number. It is quite the collector’s item. The Ambassador was written by-that-guitar. I didn’t write the song, the Signature guitar did.Speaking of Rush, the song is heavily influenced by Rush’s early works from the eighties. The concert video Show of Hands comes to mind was a huge influence on the Edge of the Black sound, particularly in the songs The Ambassador and Arcturian Rain.The theme of the song is about an Ambassador who has been selected from Earth, chosen to be a spokesperson for the people of Earth. Scientists found a way to open a portal to another galaxy and he was chosen to go through it and hopefully meet some Extraterrestrial nation on the other side. Some other interesting things come to mind in the song. The guitar solo is doing some interesting combinations of two-note per string sweep picking, combined with string skipping arpeggios a-la Paul Gilbert style. The solo ends in a nice diatonic extension arpeggio legato phrasing. These and other techniques I teach on my online instructional guitar lessons https://pyramidsonmarsguitarlessons.pivotshare.com/“
Following Pyramids On Mars’ two previous albums, “Edge of the Black” was written, composed and performed solely by Kevin Estrella who cites influences from musical greats including J.S Bach and Antonio Vivaldi along with today’s guitar virtuosos Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani. “Edge of the Black” pays homage to these artists while still maintaining Estrella’s own creative flair. Estrella shares his thoughts on the album:
“On Edge of The Black, I wanted to put emphasis on songwriting and telling a story. The emphasis is not just on the lead guitar melody, but on the band as a whole. Harmonic variations on repeating themes are strongly utilized; like rhyming phrases in spoken language that allows easier accurate retelling of the original story. This idea of repeating music phrases/themes so the audience can easily recall it and hum it all the way home.”
“Edge of The Black” pre-order available on Bandcamp.
Singles: ‘F-22 Raptor’here. ‘Song of Light’here. ‘Nacht Waffen’here.
Every once in awhile there comes along a band that is so different or unique, you would think they were dropped on Earth from another planet. Pyramids On Mars is one of those bands. What first catches you, is that they are an instrumental band. A combination of elements such as hard rock, industrial, metal and psychedelic rock: and then the lead guitar comes soaring in. Well crafted, beautiful, melodic phrases so catchy and memorable they will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
Pyramids On Mars is the solo project of guitarist Kevin Estrella. He wanted to do something musically different that would stand out from the crowd. Estrella’s musical style is very similar to world-renowned rock guitarist Joe Satriani, so much so that Estrella has nicknamed himself the “Satriani of the North.”
“Of course Satriani has had a huge influence on me,” he says “But he (Satriani) does more of a bluesy thing whereas I am more influenced by classical music. I absolutely love the Baroque classical composers J.S Bach and Antonio Vivaldi who are my biggest musical influences.
Estrella recorded, produced, engineered and mastered his debut album, self-titled “Pyramids On Mars” in 2013. Since then, he has been capturing music industry attention-getting international radio airplay in the U.S, Canada, South America, and Europe. He is a regular guest on Brian ‘the hammer’ Jackson radio (Los Angeles) to over 4 million listeners and a weekly speaker on Real Rock Radio (Chicago).
California based extreme metal titans SUICIDE SILENCE have released the official music video for the song “Feel Alive”. The track is taken from the band’s sixth studio album, “Become The Hunter”, on February 14, 2020 via Nuclear Blast. The disc was produced by Steve Evetts (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, SEPULTURA, HATEBREED) at The Omen Room and mixed by Josh Wilbur (TRIVIUM, LAMB OF GOD, GOJIRA). Ted Jensen (PANTERA, DEFTONES, SLIPKNOT) mastered the album at Sterling Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. The artwork for the album was created by Adrian Baxter.
Like the previously released videos for “Meltdown” and “Love Me To Death”, the “Feel Alive” clip was directed by Scott Hansen of Digital Thunderdome.
“Become The Hunter” track listing:
01. Meltdown 02. Two Steps 03. Feel Alive 04. Love Me To Death 05. In Hiding 06. Death’s Anxiety 07. Skin Tight 08. The Scythe 09. Serene Obscene 10. Disaster Valley 11. Become The Hunter
SUICIDE SILENCE‘s latest, self-titled album came out in February 2017 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. The CD was produced by Ross Robinson, who has previously worked with KORN, SLIPKNOT, LIMP BIZKIT and SEPULTURA, among others, and was mixed by Joe Barresi (KYUSS, MELVINS, TOOL, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE).
The controversy over the album’s sound — featuring a more melodic and clean singing style, in the vein of acts like DEFTONES and KORN — caused one disgruntled fan to launch a petition to stop the record coming out.
SUICIDE SILENCE‘s performance at the December 2015 benefit show in support of Mental Health America Of Los Angeles (MHLA) at The Observatory in Santa Ana was released this past July as the album “Live & Mental” via Nuclear Blast.
“Live & Mental” was produced by the band while mixing was handled by Josh Gilbert (WOVENWAR, AS I LAY DYING). The cover photos were shot by Jerry John Nicholl.
[Chuck Schuldiner] showed the foresight and courage to not only help create the rules of death metal, but to demonstrate how to break them. — Arthur von Nagel (Cormorant)
Charles Michael “Chuck” Schuldiner(May 13, 1967 – December 13, 2001) was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist.
He founded the band Death in 1983 and was their lead vocalist until his death in 2001. His obituary in the January 5, 2002 issue of UK’s Kerrang!magazine said that “Chuck Schuldiner was one of the most significant figures in the history of metal.”
Schuldiner is referred to as “The Godfather of death metal”, although he was “uncomfortable” with this nickname, remarking that “I don’t think I should take the credits for this death metal stuff. I’m just a guy from a band, and I think Death is a metal band.”
Eighteen years ago this week, Schuldiner died after a two-year battle with brain cancer. To honor his legacy as a death metal pioneer, an inimitable vocalist and one of the best metal guitarists of all time heres a list of metal musicians writing about their favorite “Death” songs and what Schuldiner has meant to them.
Arthur von Nagel (Cormorant)
from Scream Bloody Gore
I feel Chuck Schuldiner looked back on his ’80s albums with embarrassment. In interviews he dismissed the words to Scream Bloody Gore as childish blood ‘n’ guts fantasies, and the music as sloppy and poorly performed. He was right: The album’s lyrics are rife with slasher flick violence, misogyny, homophobia, and sexual aggression, traits which clashed with the narrative of self-discovery and acceptance he crafted around his later, more sophisticated works. The music, as exemplified by the pummeling “Zombie Ritual,” is gloriously raw, fast, and primitive (and ridiculously catchy). But for all the song’s Beavis and Butt-head-grade lyrics and flailing rhythms, Schuldiner had penned a powerful mission statement for all future death metal bands to follow. Chuck’s adolescent rage proved infectious, and perhaps in spite of themselves, Death and contemporaries Possessed spawned legions of imitators who solidified and improved upon the genre’s tropes.
But by the release of Human, Schuldiner wasn’t that angry teenager anymore. The most blatant evidence of his philosophical shift was Death’s logo, as Chuck famously cleaned up its cobwebs, mopped its the blood, banished the Reaper and righted the inverted crucifix. Some in the metal underground still view his embrace of progressive values (both musical and social) as a betrayal, a cop-out to political correctness and the same dreaded “artistic maturation” that had claimed Metallica. I can’t speak for Schuldiner’s motives for evolving his sound and image, but he placed himself in a unique historical position by having been one of the earliest codifiers of an orthodox death metal style, and then sacrilegiously expanding that very genre’s vocabulary by integrating elements of jazz fusion and progressive rock. Despite Chuck’s rug sweeping of his pubescent albums, to progress artistically demands a starting point to progress from. I firmly believe that every new Death album was a reaction to the last, and without a song like “Zombie Ritual” there could be no “The Philosopher.” It is precisely Schuldiner’s development as both a person and a musician that makes him so fascinating and divisive. He showed the foresight and courage to not only help create the rules of death metal, but to demonstrate how to break them. And there’s no shame in that.
Stephan Gebédi (Hail Of Bullets)
from Scream Bloody Gore
At the age of 15, I got heavily into the tape trading thing. I was about to form my first band (Thanatos) and me and the drummer-to-be in that band were trading tapes with people all over the world. Most of those people were 15-16 years old as well and some of them had also just formed or were about to form bands of their own. Among our pen pals were people like Killjoy (Necrophagia), Ken Owen and Bill Steer (Carcass) and guys from Florida called Kam Lee and Chuck Schuldiner. They had this band called Mantas going, but were about to change their name to Death. We traded demo tapes and live tapes and even recordings of rehearsals. I clearly remember a rather f—- up recording of a song called “Rigor Mortis” done with a microphone and a tape recorder, which was obviously about to die any day now. You could hear the microphone falling over and being put back again … hilarious! But the music itself wasn’t hilarious at all! When their new three-song demo tape arrived in the mail one day, we all knew we were listening to something special; the first power chords of the opening track, “Infernal Death,” sounded so brutal, raw and evil that we stared at each other in disbelief. It was unlike anything we’ve ever heard before. Right there we witnessed the birth of death metal. Death went on and became a more technical band and broadened their horizon. I pretty much like all the albums they’ve made, but the sheer intensity of Scream Bloody Gore, which featured the aforementioned track in its full glory, has never been matched again.
“Death by Metal!”
Matt Harvey (Exhumed)
Left to Die
Picking a favourite Death song is pretty tough. When I was first starting to play guitar, I learned the Scream Bloody Gore album from front to back and played along with it religiously. Once I heard Leprosy later that same year (I believe it was 1988, but it may have been early ’89), it was clear that the ante had been upped, not just in terms of Death’s catalog, but for the entire fledgling genre of death metal. I truly believe that Leprosy is the album that ushered in the genre as we recognize it today and as such, may be the most important album in death metal altogether. It was the first album to feature the distinct sonic components of what we now recognize as death metal. From the triggered drum sounds to the technical (especially for the time) minor/harmonic minor riffs, the tremolo picking, tapping parts, marginal presence of the bass guitar in the mix, and somewhat baroque arrangements, Leprosy has everything that defines the genre to this day. Where Scream Bloody Gore got by on attitude and rawness, Leprosy was a brilliant balance of sheer power and revealing detail. I devoured the songs on the record, and within a few weeks was playing along to it in its entirety as well. My favorite song tends to change depending on my mood (or how many beers I’ve had — give me a 12 pack and I’ll swear that “Beyond the Unholy Grave” is the best song ever), but if I had to pick one, I guess it would have to be “Left to Die.”
It is just chock-full of great riffs from beginning to end and features some of Chuck’s most inspired vocals. The opening scream at 0:24 oozes brutality, the seemingly off-the-cuff ejaculation of “On this f—— earth” at 2:04 gives the song a great dash of snarling attitude, and the grunt at 2:54 when the beat turns around personally synthesizes my own transformation from a thrash metaller to a death metal devotee. But there are still more vocal highlights: the scream at 3:13 may be the best death metal vocal ever recorded, surpassing even Jeff Becerra’s scream at the end of Possessed’s song, “Death Metal.” The final touch is the emphasis of the word “death” in the lyrics at 3:30, providing a nice, knowing wink at the audience. Again, the brilliance of this album is as much in its nuance as it is in its brute force.
As with most songs on the record, there are a lot of different riffs and tempos going on, presaging the hyper-ADD style arrangements that would become the norm in the genre in years to come. Luckily for a simple guy like me, the song still has a distinct structure — the same arrangement that figures heavily in most of Chuck’s songs: intro – verse – pre-chorus – chorus – bridge – lead – bridge –verse – pre-chorus – chorus – outro. Of course, some parts feature multiple riffs and time changes, but there is still a very coherent, recognizable structure to cling to in this song. The strangely modal intro riff is a harbinger of the scalar workouts that would figure so heavily in death metal’s transformation from a grime-covered sub-genre to a style obsessed with pushing the limits of instrumental technique, but the verse riff is the one that gets me. It’s a bludgeoning, hulking menace that throws its weight around with no regard for the listeners neck, which should immediately start whiplashing upon hearing it. The tremolo-picked chorus riff is also a bit more dissonant than most Death riffs, leaning heavily on a diminished pattern of D, F, A-flat, (which features prominently in about 99 percent of Exhumed songs) which is why it’s a favorite of mine. Chuck’s lead is, of course, tastefully dark with his trademark nervous vibrato heavily featured throughout, but in this song, I actually prefer the outro solo, a nice parting shot delivered by Rick “Rozz” Delilo, whose frenetic whammy bar abuse keeps the entire album from ever getting too melodic or anywhere near “pretty.” This is a truly great song on a truly classic, groundbreaking album. In fact, I’m almost convinced after writing this that it’s my all-time favorite Death song, but who knows, ask me again next week, and I may come up with 500 words describing why “Mutilation,” “Back from the Dead” or “Forgotten Past” is my favourite.
Paul Masvidal (Cynic)
It’s difficult trying to articulate what it is about this instrumental Death song off Human — essentially arranged and written in the studio — that speaks to me. It doesn’t have Chuck’s voice in the literal sense, but it contains all the vital harmonic, melodic and rhythmic components that branded Death’s sound. But it also has something else. It’s reaching for truth, and it holds a majestic beauty that gave Death’s songs their greatest potency. What I’m remembering is the beginner mind approach in which this song took shape in the studio. It was driven by instinct and spontaneous creative freedom. Our collective energies united and we swam into the “Cosmic Sea,” trusting we wouldn’t need a life raft. Chuck’s story was liberated without words. “Cosmic Sea” is a journey straight into the heart of Death and, for me, an auditory memory of what an old friend felt like at his best.
Gene Hoglan (Fear Factory)
Flattening of Emotions
“Flattening of Emotions” from Human is an absolute masterpiece. From the “Hot for Teacher”-esque drum intro to the progressive approach of the opening bars of the song to the blistering salvos of double bass that pervade the entire composition, this tune achieves greatness as well as lays down the foundation for every Death song to have followed it. “Flattening of Emotions” is a benchmark, a performance pinnacle and furious mission statement; that death metal will no longer be relegated to mere brute strength, but will evolve past troglodytism into sublime art, where precision and passion will triumph over perfunctory extremism. With “Flattening of Emotions,” Death imposed its will on death metal, and secured its evolution. Death metal was given a choice: Adapt or Die. Adapt it did.
Richard Christy (Charred Walls Of The Damned)
Lack of Comprehension
I spent many Saturday nights in grade school and high school watching MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. I was very fortunate that my parents had one of those old, massive, ugly giant satellite dishes that took up half our front yard and also made a great bird’s nest and lightning rod. Because we had MTV and also Canada’s Much Music channel since the early 1980s, I was able to discover many of my favorite bands through these TV channels, including Death. I remember the first time I saw the video for “Lack of Comprehension” and I was completely blown away. This song was the perfect mix of brutality and melody. Sean Reinert’s drumming also blew my mind. As a drummer, I was fascinated by his playing and I immediately wanted to learn more about Death. I also couldn’t believe that this song had brutal, guttural vocals, but was also very melodic and catchy — to me it sounded like the perfect mix of a band like Iron Maiden, and a band like Possessed. I immediately tried to learn the drum parts for this song and I have to humbly say that it took me about three years to do so.
Almost every day from the time I purchased the Human album in 1992 until I joined Death in 1997, I practiced drums to the Human album because I loved the music and drumming so much. Fortunately, when I auditioned for Death in July of 1997 I knew the Human album like the back of my hand and the first song Chuck Schuldiner and I played together was “Lack of Comprehension.” Chuck was very impressed that I knew the whole Human album and many other Death songs and this led to me joining my favorite band in the world and making friends with the most talented musician I’ve ever met and one of my heroes, Chuck Schuldiner. I miss Chuck so much and think of him every day and pretty much still listen to Death every day. When fans ask what drumming performance of mine that I’m most proud of, I always say The Sound of Perseverance album by Death. It is the highest honor as a metal fan and a dear friend of Chuck’s Schuldiner’s to say that I got to be in Death, my favorite band in the world.
John Dyer Baizley (Baroness)
from Individual Thought Patterns [Remixed, Remastered, Repackaged & Expanded]
Individual Thought Patterns is the masterpiece Death record for me. It’s the record where songwriting, production, lyrics, musicianship and hooks all converge to form a classic album. I remember being stuck in a tour van on some rural Eastern European road, and someone put the CD in the stereo. You can deny neither the skills nor the cohesion of the players on this record. Each musician is an institution unto himself, and this album goes right where so many sum-of-parts records go wrong. [Guitarist] Andy LaRoque’s surprising inclusion is a true stroke of genius. The real treat is that after an initial listen to such a progressive and technical record, I actually remembered most of the songs, most notably “The Philospher.” This was a death metal song that was instantly stuck in my head.
From the iconic opening guitar arpeggios, to the audible (!) groove of the bass line and one of the heaviest and most memorable choruses in the Death canon, this song hits every nail on the head. The guitar soloing is effortlessly fluid and melodic; and nothing negative ever needs to be said about Gene Hoglan’s acumen behind the kit.
Too often, the best you can hope for in metal lyricism is base comedy and adolescent sloganeering. Chuck stands apart as a lyricist in that he brazenly and unapologetically writes personal and insightful lyrics. While they may adhere to the tried-and-true vocal cadence of his peers, there is an openness and candor to them that is hard to deny. In “The Philosopher” he tackles subjects that fly in the face of the knuckle-dragging-Metal-orthodoxy, as he discusses and condemns narrow-minded bigotry and undue sexual judgementalism. His message, unlike so many of his contemporaries, is a universal and human message of tolerance, unadorned with the ignoble trappings generally associated with the genre.
Kevin Conway (East Of The Wall)
from Individual Thought Patterns [Remixed, Remastered, Repackaged & Expanded]
As a middle-schooler who was acquainted with only the most obvious and basic metal staples, I had absolutely no frame of reference for what I was hearing the first time I heard Death’s “Overactive Imagination.” The level of technical precision was beyond anything I had ever heard, but the technicality wasn’t the entire story. The songs were structured in a way that was compelling, yet totally natural. It was everything I ever wanted to hear, but never knew existed. I would only get about six years of Death fandom before Chuck’s untimely demise. I would never get to see them live either. In spite of all that, there are very few bands that have shaped me as much as Death did, both as a musician and as a listener.
Elizabeth Schall (Dreaming Dead)
Symbolic is by far my most favorite Death album; mainly because of the higher pitched growls and the guitars having a more progressive approach than in previous releases. And 10 years after Chuck Schuldiner’s death, it is easy to say the legacy he left behind continues to influence musicians all over the world. But it wasn’t until the summer of 2009 when my appreciation of this album came full circle, when I met [former Death bassist] Kelly Conlon on tour with Monstrosity. We spoke of many things such as life and music; I shared pictures of my cats and he of his dog back on the East Coast that he missed and loved so much. Death not only left their music and a lasting impression on me, but also a great friend.
Anthony Buda (Revocation)
After first hearing the music of Death in my mid-teens, it didn’t take long for me to identify Chuck Shuldiner as a primary musical and creative role model. Touched by the power, energy and uniqueness of Death’s music in a way that I had never before experienced, it seemed an obvious and foregone conclusion to idolize “Evil” Chuck. And unlike the vast majority of his early death metal peers, Chuck was unafraid to go beyond the lyrical comfort zone of terror and malevolence.
The song “Without Judgment,” from Death’s masterful Symbolic, resonated strongly with me as a teenager not only for its awesome composition, arrangement and performances, but also because the lyrics stimulated my imagination and my desire to understand and integrate with the world around me. In the decade or so since first falling in love with the song, I have realized that its most significant impact has been to plant this seed of desire for understanding: “Without judgment what would we do? / Perception would increase a million times.” By accessing the non-judgmental, integrative awareness of our creative minds, temporarily silencing the persistent self-definition and differentiation of the ego, we gain a sense of the beautiful unity of existence. But, Chuck warns, the path to this level of awareness is not without its pitfalls: The only way out is down: “When pain is acknowledged, frivolous calculations will be abolished.”
Steffen Kummerer (Obscura)
Flesh and the Power It Holds
from Sound of Perseverance
“Flesh and the Power it Holds” was one of the first tracks I discovered of Death and actually the first song I was able to play on guitar. Pretty good choice, great songwriting and fantastic riffs that itches under your skin. While the whole last album is a classic, the earlier material such as Human got me and since the first listen I have been a fan. “Flesh and the Power it Holds” is a pretty long song, but it never gets boring; it keeps you listening from the first to the last note. Still one of my all time favourites.
Fresh out of Stamford, Connecticut, USA, comes FROGG, a creative and modern blend of metal that is both dark and melodic. They are releasing their debut EP “A Reptilian Dystopia”on January 17, 2020 and ahead of that, are releasing the single ‘Ancient Rain’.
FROGG has been in the works for years in the mind of Sky Moon Clark and over the years he has been inoculating a stash of riffs, licks, and raw emotion, which will now be poured out into the world. As the band puts it, “it’s a fiery punch to the gut”.
The single ‘Ancient Rain’ is fast, technical and powerful with brutal riffs and malicious gutturals. One of the 4 punchy tracks that is just the beginning of what FROGG has to offer. Clark quotes about the future material FROGG intends to release:
“Our EP is kind of our raw sound put on a plate without much refinement, but it’s still the basic punch and flavour FROGG has to offer. Just think of the EP as our base, while our in-the-works Album I (expected 2021/2022) will be a more fleshed out form of FROGG with an emphasized focus on the overall songs start to finish.”
Metal fans looking for something new and creative, especially fans of Obscura, Arsis and Born of Osiriswill be able to appreciate FROGG and “A Reptilian Dystopia”.
Listen to ‘Ancient Rain’via The CirclePit‘s YouTube channel here.
FROGG is a modern technical metal band located in Stamford, USA with influences stemming from Obscura, Arsis, and Born of Osiris.
The concept behind FROGG is simple: create modern heavy music while striving to show off some originality in an often, over-processed genre. FROGG’s main ambition is to hit the live circuit in NYC and its surroundings with a perfected performance and bolstered line-up.
FROGG started as your typical high school band with founder Sky Moon Clark and co-founder at the time, Ryan Panny blasting off primarily Children of Bodom covers for fun. FROGG was later revitalized by Clark, during his time at Berklee College of Music.
Through his time at Berklee, Clark experimented with different projects while continuing to funnel different guitar-centric song ideas and riffs into the archives that would later come to fruition with the next reincarnation of FROGG.
In 2019, the overstocked stash of riffs, licks, and raw emotion was ready to be poured out into the world what was a one-man project bloomed with the addition of Siebe Sol Sijpkens (bass); Anthony Barrone (drums) and Liam Zintz-Kunkel (rhythm guitars) to record the first EP.
With performance in mind, FROGG delivers an authentic live sound with no backup tracks, just raw, practiced musicianship. The dark and melodic band promises something hot, original and intense and the debut album “A Reptilian Dystopia” is slated for release in 2020.