Category: features

What’re your highlights of
the year so far?

Jamie Smith (Vocals): I cannot begin to put into
words how much of a buzz it was to finally hold a physical copy of our album,
after nearly 3 years of solid work and all that time, effort and cash, there it
was, and it was beautiful. It may have been the second greatest moment of my
life next to the birth of my son…same energy.

 

What are your goals for the
rest of the year?

JS: I want to support ‘Sleeping Giant’ to the fullest
and get the most out of this album’s life cycle as possible. Exciting
conversations are going on at the minute about gigs and tours and I’m chomping
at the bit to take this album on the road. On a personal note, I’m hoping to
get back into a bit more of a regular exercise program and shift a few of my
unwanted chins.

Which new bands/artists are
you into right now?

JS: I don’t think they’re considered “new” but I
love the latest offering from Fit For An Autopsy – called ‘Sea of Tragic Beasts’.
It’s heavy as fuck, yet melodic and hooky. It has everything I look for when it
comes to metal music.

On my local scene, there is a criminally underrated
hard rock outfit called Skull Fox who are insanely talented and well worth a
listen, just be ready to have some songs stuck in your head.

What was the band or
artist that got you into music or inspired you to be a musician?

JS: It was Gorillaz that made me realise that there
was more to music than S-Club 7 and Westlife. I credit them for opening the
door to alternative music for me when I was super young and impressionable. I also
vividly remember seeing the video for Slipknot’s ‘Duality’ for the first time when
I was 14. All of a sudden I was seeing these freaks in masks trashing a house
with a mob of their fans playing this music that sounded like nothing I’d ever
heard, I knew there and then that was EXACTLY what I was about.

How best do you write; in
a jam room or a studio?

JS: My writing is fairly separate from the other guys,
as I generally like the song to be pretty much there musically before I write
anything because if anything changes after I’m happy with it I get upset. I
have pages and pages of lyric ideas, phrases and themes written down and pull
from those whenever a song is ready for vocals. I isolate myself for a few
hours with a notepad, the track and a thesaurus, and tend to emerge with
something I’m happy to take to the rest of the band.

What was your wildest show
so far, and why?

JS: My mind goes to a show where I witnessed a kid
get absolutely fucking bodied in a mosh pit, like, completely taken down, and I
felt a strange sense of pride in him for taking that shot for our music. Also
the last time we played our hometown, there was a kid on the front row who was
absolutely LOVING us. I’m not sure if he was on something now that I think
about it, but it’s nice to see someone in the crowd matching our intensity on
stage.

Where is the furthest
across the globe you’ve played so far?

JS: Just the UK so far. But the sky’s the limit
really. I’m happy to go as far as this journey takes me, I travel often with my
partner anyway and I want to see everywhere – so if I can do that while
entertaining people that’s a Bonus.

What’re your highlights of the year so far?

Marcelo Varge (Guitars) –
2020 is just starting but it will be a pretty busy year given our upcoming
album “Falls Apart, to be released on February 25th. We are releasing the first
single ‘Black Cloud’ along with a music video on February 4th. We have some
promotion gigs happening around Ireland too that will hopefully be in our
highlights at the end of the year, but for now, 2020 is all about sharing our
music with as many people as we can.

What are your goals for the rest of the year?

MV – We are looking forward
to working on our next single for the album, after ‘Black Cloud’ hopefully with
another music video. With the album in general, we spent all of 2019 working
behind the scenes to prepare for this release, so we hope to see the effort
come to fruition now! We aim to really broaden Sectile’s name a lot throughout
the year.

Which new bands/artists are you into right now?

MV – Always hard to answer
this one. Even though I listen to a lot of bands I lack the necessary memory
skills to retrieve those when I need to and always have to query my playlists.
But at the moment I can say I am currently listening to Tool’s latest album,
the new Lindemann album, Architects, Baroness… also giving Cynic a proper
listen for the first time, our drummer Zachary got me into them. The list could
go on and on!

What was the band or artist that got you into music or
inspired you to be a musician?

MV – I think that those
involved in progressive music tend to have a history of experiencing diverse
genres and I’m no exception to that rule. I first got into progressive music
because of Tool but I only delved into their catalog after discovering bands
like Rammstein and Deftones. Shortly after it was Chelsea Wolfe and John Zorn
for example. You reach a certain point where the amount of influence you’re
getting can’t be measured, all you know is the more bands you listen to the
better!

How best do you write; in a jam room or a studio?

MV – Neither. Usually
progressive writing in the style of Sectile involves extensive time signature
changes, polyrhythmics, tempo changes, unusual structures, etc. These can be
fairly time consuming and often counterproductive to do so in a room you’ve
rented on the clock! The most effective writing process that we have is to work
on your ideas at home, have the basic structure, draft it into some sort of
documentation (usually Guitar Pro) and bring it up in chunks to the studio.
There, each one of the band members are able to contribute and apply their own
changes and we can start crafting our songs as that.

What was your wildest show so far, and why?

MV – I’m the new guy in the
band but we’ve done quite a few already. I would personally choose one that we
did in Dublin’s Fibber Magees that was unexpectedly packed and the crowd were
really going for it, headbanging to odd time signature riffs! That fired me up.

Where is the furthest across
the globe you’ve played so far?

MV – Sectile is a relatively new band, all of our gigs
were in Ireland except for the one London gig last year. But we are certainly
working towards playing around Europe this year. We want to bring our music to
as many people as we can – hopefully with our debut album out there, it will be
possible. By now we are used to squeezing in a small car to drive and play
around Ireland!

What’re your highlights of
the year so far?

Paddy Bleakley (lead vocals, guitar, songwriter) –
Finally finishing the record. It’s been a long road!

Kieran Gilchrist (guitars, backing vocals) – Yeah,
me too. A long road, indeed.

What are your goals for the
rest of the year?

PB – To just keep creating. That’s what makes me
tick. Also, I hope some people listen to our first album and take something
from it, whatever that may be.

KG – World domination, and to cut down on the 8 cups
of tea per day I appear to be drinking these days.

Which new bands/artists are
you into right now?

PB – Right now, Colter Wall (genius songwriter),
John Moreland, The White Buffalo, The Teskey Brothers, Lucas Nelson, Marcus
King. There’s so many man! Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys, is the producer
that I always listen out for at the moment – him and Ethan Johns. Ethan Johns
has just recorded an album with Liverpool’s Robert Vincent. From what I’ve
heard so far, it’s pretty special. Adrian Gautrey, who plays organ on our
album, was heavily involved with Rob’s latest record so we’ve been excited
about it for a while. So far, it has not disappointed! Paul Dunbar and The
Black Winter Band are coming out with some pretty spectacular stuff at the
moment as well!

KG – At the moment, I’m reminiscing a lot with Cuban
son and Colombian cumbia.

 

What was the band or
artist that got you into music or inspired you to be a musician?

PB – Bob Dylan made me realise that you didn’t have
to have a conventional voice to be able to get your message across. Also,
lyrically I think he, and Leonard Cohen changed the game. Lyrics didn’t have to
be punchy, or reeled off easily. They could make you think. Like poetry.
Extremely revolutionary, at least to me as a listener and aspiring writer!

KG – It was my uncle Jim who first inspired me to pick
up a guitar. The music that I was exposed to at his flat in Toxteth, Liverpool
– where I used to jam with him and his mate when I was 16 – would probably be
the most formative. There was plenty of Beatles, gypsy jazz like Django
Reinhardt & Gary Potter, and a fair amount of Lee Scratch Perry & The
Upsetters.

How best do you write; in
a jam room or a studio?

PB – Writing is a lonely process for me. I can be
anywhere, it doesn’t matter. The only rule is when inspiration strikes, I have
to be ready. It helps if I have my instruments nearby!

KG – I also find it easier to write riffs and mess around
with arrangements alone so I can experiment a bit more and make sense of things
before I share them. The band jamming process is very important too though
because it forces out those happy, sub-conscious accidents, which you might
otherwise self-censor or overthink.

What was your wildest show
so far, and why?

PB – Whenever I play live, I’m very self-conscious
to try and do the songs justice and to not ruin the vibe. True freedom, and
wildness, come in the writing process for me personally.

KG – We’re still yet to perform live as El Misti so
who knows how wild it will get but, as it stands, singing mariachi songs in
Spanish with a full mariachi band, in full mariachi costume, in the middle of
Mexico, was pretty off-piste.

Where is the furthest
across the globe you’ve played so far?

PB – Well, me and Kieran met in Brazil…so probably
there. But wherever I roam, if there’s a guitar, or piano…you can usually
find me closeby.

KG – I spent 2 years travelling through Latin
America and was fortunate enough to play with a Cuban street band in Santiago
de Cuba, a mariachi band in Mexico, and other randoms along the way in
Guatemala and Colombia.

Photos by Cristina Massei

When Monster Magnet announced their recent UK dates, they were billed as a set containing the monumental Powertrip album played in its entirety. Having seen them give similar treatment to previous classic albums like Spine of God and Dopes to Infinity, this was one I was really looking forward to.

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I had loved every previous album the band had released and, despite also loving Powertrip, it took the band to a level of commercial success and critical acclaim that, I for one, never thought i would see. That little hippy stoner band from New Jersey were catapulted from the ranks of hard working circuit bands to the heights of huge globally and commercially viable industries almost overnight. I have seen this happen with bands before: that magic moment in history when everything just seems to fall into place. The reasons vary from band to band but, in the case of Monster Magnet, I would put it down to two factors.

Firstly, the year was 1998, a period when rock music was on one of its rises in general popularity; secondly, and perhaps most importantly, two words: Great Songs. This album had some grade one bangers on it: Space Lord and Powertrip are probably the ones most people remember, but this album was full of other gems that I couldn’t wait to hear tonight.

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Of course, it’s all very well having a set of great songs that were written over 20 years ago; the thing is, do the band still have the presence and the ability to deliver them in a way that the older fans remember and the newer fans can embrace as relevant? From the moment a smiling Dave Wyndorf grabs the mike and the band light up, this was never gonna be in doubt. The band sound on top form as they cover the album from top to tail with consummate professionalism.

Hearing songs like Bummer and Crop Circle was a delight, and their rendition of See You In Hell was the nights personal highlight for me. After the album, we get an encore of oldies; must have been the night for it. Dopes, Twin Earth and Negasonic Teenage Warhead all get an outing, along with the Hawkwind cover of The Right Stuff. As nights of nostalgia go, it doesn’t get much better than this.

With Vile Luxury being one of the best records mixing the
worlds of metal and jazz in quite some time we caught up with Zachary, Kenny
and Steve from Imperial Triumphant as they were getting ready to make their UK
live debut at Damnation Festival – look out for a great primer of Jazz for
Metalheads within…

To begin – how does it feel to finally play the UK?

Zachary: It’s our pleasure, we’re really excited.

You’ve also announced a big signing with Century Media –
what led to the signing?

Zachary: A friend of mine made an introduction to them and
we were able to talk to them, while explaining what our goals are, we realised
we had similar kind of trajectories with what we wanted to do with the music,
this label really feels like a great match! It’s important that whatever your
goals are as a musician the label reflects that and wants to help you achieve
that because it’s a symbiotic relationship or it should be.

Vile Luxury came out on Gilead Media who are a very good
label…

Zachary: Very good label.

Vile Luxury was top 3 in my records of last year because
I loved all the mixes of the different styles you guys were doing, the jazz
stuff mixed in was just magical.

Zachary: It’s a good mix, it’s not too ‘oh and now here’s
this part, here’s the jazz part!’ We blend everything together.

Kenny: It also comes from being natural, it’s not like ‘oh I
learned how to play a jazz riff, let me put it into my song.’ We can play jazz
– for real, a lot of those influences are coming just from our wheelhouse,
they’re not just something we just try to do for the record, it’s stuff that we
can do on call and it’s like well just put it in the music because it works, it
connects everything.

More organic than just forced.

Kenny: Totally. There’s certain bands out there that we all
love and they’ll do their jazz breaks and you kinda go ‘wish you didn’t do
that’ because it’s insulting to the music and you sound terrible, just go back
to the thing you do. With us – this is what we do, we’re just presenting what
we do and how we write and how we see and hear things.

What was also unique about Vile Luxury was the graphic
novel release – what led to that idea?

Zachary: We were doing a tour in America and getting sent
all of this fan art, one of them looked like this comic book sort of thing, I
thought it would be kind of a cool idea and next thing you know we’re reaching
out to all of these artists trying to make it happen because when you’re in a
band that has a sort of brand like ours there’s so much you can do beyond the
music that it’s really fun to flex your creativity, see where you can take it,
we’re all really proud of this graphic novel.

[To Steve and Kenny] Are you two fans of comic
books/graphic novels?

Kenny: I grew up as a comic book collector in 80s/90s and
got out of it once it got to the point where it was ‘Do I keep collecting
graphic novels or do I buy drum gear?’ In the end I just gave up the comic
collecting but I was an avid reader and so was my dad.

If I remember correctly that was the time of the big
comic speculator boom with variant covers and stuff…

Kenny: Exactly – that’s the time you have guys like Todd
McFarlane leaving Marvel, Chris Claremont stops writing X-Men, now all these
big writers, artists are starting their own comic book companies: Image,
Malibu, Valiant, Dark Horse – all that stuff started to come into fruition but
like you said the speculators came along and said this is a burgeoning market…
basically what’s happening now with classic video games where you have these
collectors that are buying large bulks of rare games, hiding them and then
saying I’ve got one copy, before you know it the price of these games are going
up on Ebay for thousands of dollars and it’s still not worth that because
here’s a guy right here whose got forty of them in a box brand new unopened
mint condition.

The same thing was definitely happening with comics and by
the time it burst I was already out of collecting and music took over.

What were the musicians that made you go ‘I want to be in
a band’?

Kenny: Family, I grew up in a family of musicians so my
first experiences were my father playing drums and touring with my family at an
early age.

Zachary: Mine was some cassette of Jimi Hendrix – Foxy Lady
and was like ‘This is fucking sick! I need to do exactly this!’  and I achieved it! [All laugh]

Steve: Stravinsky made me want to be in a band – that’s my
earliest memory of music, what I got from listening to The Rite Of Spring, this
record that my dad had that I would put on as a little kid that used to freak
me out and so whatever that feeling was I felt I wanted to do that for my life
and that led to everything else.

With the new record out next year is there anything you
can say yet about it?

Zachary: All I’ll say is it’s going to blow your mind!

Kenny: it’s not a drastically new direction but it’s
growing.

Since we’re getting near the end of the year what are
your favourite albums of 2019?

[Kenny points to his Car Bomb shirt with the album art for
Mordial on the front] : It’s the best thing they’ve done thus far but it’s
tricky because most of the new stuff I’ve been listening to is not metal
related.

Steve: I’ve just been listening to old records a lot.

Zachary: I’ve been listening to a lot of Deep Purple lately

Steve: I’ve been cranking old live Metallica, I’m just in
love with that shit – Live at the Lyceum.

Kenny: Wayne Krantz – Two Drink Minimum I’ve been listening
to a lot – mostly for the drums!

Now with the jazz elements of the record and personally
trying to start listening to more jazz – what would you say is a good primer to
start with?

Zachary: The question is what would you draw you in as a
metal fan…?

Steve: it’s a very difficult question because there’s so
many – one for me that hits real hard is Money Jungle (Duke Ellington)

Zachary: That’s a great one.

Steve: It hits you hard like what we’re doing, similar
y’know?

Zachary: I was a big metalhead before I started listening to
jazz and one that always grabbed me was Giant Steps (John Coltrane) because
it’s got that speed that you as a metalhead look for. It’s also the atmosphere
y’know – if I’m walking around the city and I throw on Now he Sings, Now he
Sobs (Chick Corea) it’s like better because I’m surrounded by skyscrapers and
it’s got this dark noir vibe.

It’s one of those genres that depending on where you are
certain records will ring true.

Steve: I mean jazz is very much like metal where its
umbrella is pretty wild and diverse – a lot of metalheads back in New York like
the Krallice guys listen to Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Zachary: A good bridge actually!

Kenny: Even those guys consider themselves jazz-rock – the
term fusion wasn’t coined yet and that’s really what the music is – a rocked
out version of jazz.

Steve: More rocky than the fusion that came after them…

Kenny: They could be a really good gateway – I was a
jazzhead before a metalhead and to me I would go to my metalhead friends and go
‘you lke Pantera? How about Mahavishnu?’

Steve: Money Jungle – the players are Duke Ellington, Max
Roach and Charles Mingus so it’s like a superhuman band

Zachary: Another one is Charles Mingus – The Black Saint and
The Sinner Lady, real gritty.

Steve: Mingus in general is another great gateway because
his music is just full of everything.

Kenny: Even the sixties Coltrane stuff like Crescent will
communicate with metalheads in a way because it’s really ferocious in a
beautiful way.

Of course there’s the recent Miles Davis reissues…

Steve: When we’re on the road we throw on Nefertiti on a
regular basis – that’s our sound!

photos by Cristina Massei

We’re back to Jaz Coleman’s habitual London residence for a chat about his new album “Magna Invocatio” after the official launch a couple of days ago. With so much happening in the world of KJ – and in the world in general – John just can’t wait to catch up with the man. Here it goes…


Today’s obviously a very special day, the release of the new album Magna Invocatio – A Gnostic Mass For Choir And Orchestra Inspired by the Sublime Music of Killing Joke, now it’s a double vinyl/double CD and I wanted to ask you what sort of emotions you get on a day like this because obviously it’s a record that you lived with for a while and you’ve put a lot of work into it and now finally we’re at the day where you can walk into a record store anywhere in the world, what are your hopes and aspirations for people that are picking up a copy of the album?

The journey from the time you start conceiving the idea – never mind the fucking funding – to the when it’s in a record store, that’s a journey in itself on a project like this! What can I say? It’s magic that it’s happened, the effect it’s having is magic on people, on my life, everywhere.

Magna Invocatio is the only recording I’ve ever done where I’ve listened to it multiple times everyday since the recording, I can’t stop listening to it because it lifts my spirit, the idea of gnostic mass is that wherever you are you can put the headphones on and I can commune directly with the hierarchy or angelic forces at a time when there’s darkness on the planet.

Next year’s going to be the most frightening year for humanity.

It’s not looking great at the moment.

Next year and it starts in early January. The thing is myself, Killing Joke, the governing elites of the planet, we use astrology. The astrology we’re coming into this next year is worse than 1963 in similar terms so the first thing we’re going to have to do is prepare for the day when banks don’t work and there’s no money from cash point machines and start thinking about where we get our food from and how and let’s start thinking about that with our friends – I’ve said this for a while! [laughs]

Your thoughts seem to be coming true.

I wish they weren’t coming true! We’re so close to a nuclear war because it’s not like the Cold War, we’re close to something called Complex Systems Failure which is when you’ve got cyber warfare going on with this and that but we’re already in a shadow war with Russia so my work in Russia which has been going on for seven years now I see as all important – as a bridge between America, the United Kingdom and Russia.

Do you think recording the album in Russia added something that wouldn’t have been there if you recorded anywhere else?

When I was recording it all the British diplomats were being expelled in the tit for tat thing with the alleged poisoning case, I remain probably the last Westerner classical recording artist on a western label that works with Russia and I’m composer in residence for St Petersburg for a while.

How was it working with them – it must have been a dream come true?

Although I live on a desert island I’m probably going to move to Russia.

Really?

Yeah. So when nuclear war breaks out as I’m getting obliterated I can think of you getting obliterated in the complete madness of it all! 

Russia and Jaz Coleman – I never saw that coming.

Well I intend to work there more often – the temperature’s often thirty-five below zero. [laughs]

How did it feel getting an endorsement from the United Nations with the project?

I was a guest at the UN this week – isn’t it remarkable? The music of Killing Joke is now the music of the spiritual arm of the UN and that’ll be played at official functions. It gives meaning to the work of Killing Joke.

Is it something you could ever have envisioned happening?

Yes because we took holy vows, the holy vows you will hear in the text on the third movement of Magna Invocatio, that is a shortened text of the Rosicrucian Prayer that Paul [Ferguson] and myself recited when we were teenagers so when I listen to it I feel the magical past of time, my god literally, it makes me go wow and that’s it – when I listen to this work it connects me with these forces. When you’re listening it will lift you up too. 

I also designed it as a Feast of The Gods which is to say I noticed when every time I listened to Killing Joke it gave me indigestion when I was eating so I wanted to rescore Killing Joke so I could have it with a Sunday roast – appetizer, Sunday roast and pudding then you lighten a spliff or a cigar up and it’s still playing. Will you remember that when you have your next roast?

I will!

Put it on and by the time you get to dessert it’s coming to the end, you can listen to Killing Joke properly on Sundays now.

I’m looking forward to it! I remember listening to Extremities back in the day and that made me physically ill, I’d never heard anything that brutal and I’ve expected that from every Killing Joke release and to be honest it’s hit the bar every time recently.

Have you heard Invocation and Intravenous/ I loved doing that one.

Where did you record it because the space sounds like it was in an amphitheatre?

I recorded it in a radio station in St Petersburg – the old Soviet recording studios.

I’ve always imagined Killing Joke to be like a gang when writing and recording things – a lot of input from everyone. When you’re taking on a project like this where you’re responsible for everything do you find that it’s very easy to get too carried away – do you know when a song is finished?

Sure I do – I have a system where I pass music through my body and I can hear the score literally through my body, not just the ears, I can feel it and it tells you what’s right and what’s wrong. I know where every instrument is, every bar inside my entire being – it’s like kinesiology, the body tells me everything.

Do you go in with that action structure for every single piece of music in a movement or is there a scope of some sort because I imagine with bands you’re in a room someone will jam something off the cuff…

There’s no scope for that at all, if it ain’t on the page it ain’t on the stage, if it’s not written down you won’t get that so it’s as you write it but you can do radical things on session by dropping things out or muting things, you don’t normally start getting creative by rescoring or rewriting something – at £300 a minute it’s not a good idea.

I saw an interview where you were talking about the costs of it – it turned out to be quite an expensive project to actually get done. Was there a time you feared it might never happen?

Yes. I have to tell you that first of all the manager that put this together is long gone. To my shame I have murderous thoughts towards them because this whole thing was a setup by somebody who had it in for me who didn’t even allow me access to Killing Joke’s Facebook which is just one of a thousand things so we had a very bad relationship and he said to me first of all ‘I’ll put up ten grand and put in your pocket’ and I had nothing at all to do this project. It’s been a nightmare – there was no preliminary budget done, it’s been mismanaged, there wasn’t enough money anyway but what there was the dubious management I had took that and then Pledge [Music] went under. The management then said let’s do Songs from The Victorious City (Jaz’s album with Anne Dudley) which means I need the best Arabic players and when I did the budget, they wouldn’t have any to fly the players over! It was a setup!

It was a setup and I was really angry about it, the truth is when you hear the fifth movement – five is a great number for me – this piece of music ‘Invocation’  if you want to know the truth it’s hidden in the archives of the Royal Opera House because music has a magical function and I use this song when people betray me, it’s a war song. I did three versions of it – one at the Royal Opera House, once with Killing Joke and this is the third version where I’ve used a Sumerian war chant that’s 14,000 years old.

I was angry before I wrote that piece, someone found my daughter’s phone number and thought it’d be funny to say to my daughter that her grandmothers just died. We went through AT&T and I know who that is so when you hear that track remember – this is for them.

That’s one of those situations that people can’t relate to until it happens to them – why would someone do that?

Until we did those phone calls, my daughter and my family thought my Mum was dead and my daughter’s screaming on the other end – there’s only one person that knows that number and those are the kind of people we’re dealing with and if you think all these things I’ve been talking about are interconnected…

It’s been a dark journey but a victorious one because we got there in spite of everything and at the same time I feel I’ve made more strides towards making peace between the West and Russia than anybody else in one go because they want war. They want war because most of them are mad, the people that do military planning – they think that by bringing back a world war Jesus will turn up.

{All but Jaz chuckle]

We may well laugh but I was having a conversation with people that know people in the Pentagon – one being Jello Biafra – and this is the case! When you consider over 60 percent of Americans believe in the Rapture they’re going to be beamed up to new Jerusalem with their cars. [Jaz laughs]

Do you think there’s enough good people in the world to avoid catastrophe?

Yes – we need to have a conversation this time next year. If we get that far we’re going to be OK. That’s why we’re here – Killing Joke musically we’re to hold everyone’s hand! [Jaz laughs uproariously]

Speaking of Killing Joke you’ve done a few… small gigs recently!

Three American tours in 12 months – Killing Joke are hard fuckers! They take a lot of punishment, we live a Spartan existence.

Were you treated well?

Yes but we don’t like stadiums and the corporate kind of setup, we won’t be doing the corporate stadium thing ever again but we were treated very well, we had a wicked time with the guys from Tool, they’re musical children and mates of ours.

Tool are one of those uber big bands so I presume huge venues…

Massive! Some of them were 20,000, a couple were 50,000 seaters, makes your head swim and you don’t wanna look up, you’ll get dizzy.

What’s it like doing gigs where the crowd don’t really know you?

Killing Joke love a challenge, they love playing before another band and smelt blood always. It helps when Maynard’s telling people about our music every night and then people know through social media he’s saying that so we’re endorsed as it were and we’re playing fucking great, we were getting standing ovations almost every night. I feel like we made serious in roads into stealing as many Tool fans as possible in a positive way, I can tell you that’s happening because you can have a look at our website and you can see it’s made a massive impact!

Tool have got a number one record at the moment in America and it’s great to come out on tour with them.

It seems the band just keep growing.

At the same time I’ve been releasing Magna Invocatio I’ve made two visits to the United Nations in one year and it remains to be seen whether there will be an United Nations because America won’t pay its dues so they’ve got two more weeks of wages…

Do you think that’s the right thing to do?

It’s a terrible thing. It’s the only structure we’ve got whereby warring tribes can communicate because you see at the moment it’s not like the good old days where it was bilateral – a hotline between Moscow and Washington – now in a fragmented world with warheads pointing at every direction we’re in danger of complex systems failure.

How did you find the American perspective on it? People tend to be distorted I find by the way their governments are…

I think the people are very kind – but in America 80% of the population are two pay cheques away from homelessness, it has the highest illiteracy rate in the western world, there’s more people in prison than colleges there – it’s not a good model for the world, it’s a dangerous beast and I’m glad I’ve left this country because the leaders of this country have sucked up to America always. There’s not been one that’s stood up and said I’m sorry that’s unacceptable for the people of the United Kingdom, your bullying ways. This disgusting country’s got air bases in everyone else’s nation on planet Earth and they started this Russiaphobia thing, James Baker promised Gorbachev we would not expand NATO so when World War III breaks out – everyone can thank themselves for fucking not protesting, not making statements about our governments who have doing these things in our name expanding NATO eastwards breaking that law promised, NATO has encircled Russia, it’s been fermenting wars on its border with Ukraine.

Russia is not an imperial nation, it does not seek to invade the United Kingdom or America whereas America is taking over all our nations, it’s not a force for good – it’s failed in its mission to unite the world in freedom.

My prediction is when the dollar gives way it is no longer the trading currency in petroleum the United States will fragment into different sections, this and extreme climate change and demographics – Mexico will enlarge its borders.

Speaking of demographics in regards to music you must be reaching new territories you never dreamed to have reached…

Who works as hard as us? I mean Tool – there’s been thirteen years between their last release and this one, we’ve done three albums in that time and been touring HARD in a Spartan manner the way it should be because when you have too much comfort your music sounds soft! [laughs]

Speaking of music – one album that went under the radar was the Live at The Astoria release.

Not surprising as it was one of the worst tours of our lives, I haven’t seen it but everyone says it was good! I saw the opening and was surprised how good the sound was – it was one of the best live recordings ever. I miss all that, look at the shithole now, concrete and glass everywhere. I don’t even recognise Tottenham Court Road – it’s a different place, everything’s resembling a termite mound.

No one’s batting an eyelid, driving past an empty space – next thing there’s a silver building but no one knows what it’s for.

It’s all backhanders with planners and corrupt councils. You can’t trust human beings and that’s why governments should resemble jury service so there’s no vested interests. Until there’s further augmentations to the human condition we can’t trust human beings, they’re greedy, war-like and that’s because they’ve got the genes of primates mixed with genes of exo-intelligence and they go in opposite directions. Part of us doesn’t want to be on this planet – it yearns for somewhere else. Our bodies only want cooked food, they don’t like food in its natural state, part of our DNA makeup is not from here.

That’s why we’re at war with ourselves.

You’ve always moved around a lot living a subterranean lifestyle but you’ve bene in South America a lot recently – how’s life there?

Fantastic. I’m doing it for you, I’m living in rent free luxury – what we must all aspire to. Think about it – how much do we waste on rent and fucking mortgages and stuff? We can do better things with that money right? It’s one thing you have to concentrate hard on – living a rent free existence, well I’m good at that! I just keep moving – I don’t mind hardship, I don’t even mind moving to a country with no money in my pocket, I trust myself.

From my twenties – from Revelations onwards – I would move country and make a point of taking no more than £10 with me, I would stay in South America for six weeks on that. I’d meet someone and find a way to survive. I made that point so I wasn’t tyrannised by money or poverty, I’ve moved countries like this loads of times – the Middle East I would do like this – I go to mosques because you can feed yourself every Friday in the mosque as a stranger. I’m crazy mate! [Uproarious laugh]

So whereabouts in South America are you?

I’m in Lima, I go between there, Sao Paolo and san Jose in Costa Rica because I’m working with Buh Records and that’s where they’ve got bases.

You’ve done work with a band I really like in DEAFKIDS…

This new record is fucking on fire, I’ve worked with them on one record that’s not out yet, I’ve fundraised for them and we’ve done an awesome recording, mind-blowing! Revolutionary.

Does it restore your faith in music?

No one’s got any money so I help fundraise the recordings that I do with them, it’s part of the whole thing I do with the UN which is classical music as well and then I did Deflore recently, all these bands are supporting Killing Joke at some point and they’re the ones that totally inspired me. DEAFKIDS – when you see their little society they’ve created in a country where the president [Bolsonaro] is trying to stop bands from existing, has cut funding to orchestras , is burning down the Amazon and has death squads and they’re a band who exists and create heaven on earth – fuck yeah I’ll work for them.

There’s another band in Sao Paolo they always play with, a girl industrial band – Rakta – and they co-headline together, I’ll be heading with the duo to Lebanon to record with them.

I’m setting up a travelling club which I’ll take around South America next year which will be a masquerade party – bands and visual artists, different stage sets and it’ll start at five o’clock and go on late!

What’s next for Killing Joke?

A first-class flight with Singapore airlines home to a beach for a break… break a few necks more like! [laughs] Look, I like being on the frontlines but I need to recharge my batteries too so when I go to New Zealand I’m aiming to train hard on my body with this guy called Richie Hardcore and he’s good friends with the only politician I like in the world – the prime minister of New Zealand (Jacinda Ardern) My commitment to counter culture in rock music – revolutionary rock music because counter culture’s really important because I can see a time when if there’s no money from the cash point machines and cities have only got three minutes of food we can’t even think about music if we’re getting hungry or the arts until our primary needs are met so the art centres of the future are farms which I’m planning in South America and New Zealand.

Show date: December 12th 2019

When was the last time you
saw a 5-band show where every single band brought it and when you left you
thought, “Holy sh*t, that was an amazing night of metal!”? Austin got that kind
of night this past week. We thought we were just going to see Death Angel, but
we ended up getting so much more.

Opening the show was Black
Thorn Halo, well known to the Austin metal community for their hard-driving,
in-your-face, classic/thrash metal. It’s a testament to how good these guys are
that they played in front of a sizeable crowd at 7 p.m., and they didn’t
disappoint. Their latest album, “The Horde”, was recently endorsed by Gary Holt
and Steve “Zetro” Souza (check out the band’s FB page for the clips), and every
single band member was fully engaged in the performance. Vocalist Ralph Lopez
got the crowd going and drummer Eric Mulero brought the intensity he is known
for. They were the perfect band to start the night.

Next up was Runescarred
(pronounced “ROON-scarred”). Formed in 2017 by Ven Scott (vox) and Tim Driscoll
(guitar), formerly of highly respected Dead Earth Politics, along with Payton
Holecamp (drums), Skunk Manhattan (guitar) and Josh Robins (bass), these guys
brought something completely new to the table. Combining the mysticism and
theatrics of Dio with the virtuosity and progressive sound of Symphony X and a
touch of Lamb of God aggression, they captivated the audience with a sound and
performance that is sorely lacking in today’s scene. Ven is made for the stage
– he has the pipes and presence that seem to come effortlessly, and
classically-trained Tim Driscoll is a BEAST on guitar. Runescarred is that band
that hits the stage before the band you came to see and before their first song
is over you are looking up from your phone and by the end of their 2nd
song you are tapping your foot and by the third song you are nodding your head
and by the 4th song you are wondering if they have music for sale
and next time they come to town they are the band you go see. We have enough
thrash/death/core. We need a Runescarred to take us to faraway places. Look for
their full length album to drop in early 2020.

I hadn’t heard of Hell Fire,
a foursome from San Francisco, before they took the stage, but it was easy to
like them immediately. First, they all looked so YOUNG. They reminded me of the
picture of Metallica on the back of the Master of Puppets album. Second, they
were all SMILING, and looked very happy to be on stage playing for us. Third,
they played classic, no-frills, heavy metal. Singer Jake Nunn’s vocals tended
to the higher side, reminding me a bit of Cam Pipes of (the now sadly defunct)
Canadian band 3 Inches of Blood. The music reminded me a bit of that band, too.
Their music and attitude won them more than a few new fans that night.

How loved and respected is
Exmortus in our community? How about the fact that when a van accident in
Canada threatened to derail their tour they raised nearly $20K in under THREE DAYS?
Vocalist/guitarist Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez confessed to me after their set that
he was truly surprised by the support the band received. Gracious, humble and
ridiculously talented, Exmortus achieved that which every band wishes to
achieve – a distinct sound that when you hear it, you know it’s them. Their
music evokes images of fight-to-the-death sword battles brought to life with
death metal vocals and some amazing classical scales thrown in for good
measure. They gave 110% on stage, as they always do.

Admit it: When you first
heard that Death Angel was nominated for a Grammy, you thought you heard wrong,
and then you thought, “F*ck yeah!” These Bay Area thrash legends are FINALLY
getting the recognition they deserve. And they do deserve it. When you think of
all that Rob Cavestany and Mark Osegueda have been through, it’s pretty amazing
that they are still here, much less continuing to turn out album after album
and performance after performance at the level they do. Watching these guys and
the rest of the band on stage is pure joy. Performing songs from their entire
catalogue, it was apparent they were having as much fun as the crowd. As Osegueda
told the crowd, they were the reason the band was there, and the resounding
shout affirmed that statement.

And thus ended a fantastic
night of music. Look, I don’t expect the members of Watain and Behemoth to be
grinning from ear to ear on stage. I get that they are not “those” kind of
bands. But I do expect that bands perform every show, whether it’s the first
date of the tour or the 30th, with the energy and enthusiasm the
crowd expects and deserves. I’ve seen enough bands phone it in.  I’m happy to report we got a rare 5/5 Thursday
night. Here’s hoping for more like that.

Words: Bonnie Archer

Words: Tim Finch and Matt D

Photos: Tim Finch Photography

Another rotation of the Earth around the Sun has occurred meaning it’s time to return to the land of Leeds for this year’s gathering of the Damnation Festival hitting it’s 15th year with it’s biggest headliner since the mighty Bolt Thrower in Opeth… and after grabbing a couple of great sausage rolls from the pasty/pizza etc cafe inside the Reflectory we begin by heading to the Eyesore Merch stage…

Brummie doom
merchants Alunah kick the festival off in style. Their take on the genre
differs to the norm, it’s vibrant and engrossing allowing the vocal abilities
of Sian to add layers of depth to the bands already rich sound. The half hour
opening set, featuring material from new album Violet Hour, is a masterclass in
doom and the fans who came in early to catch it lapped it up.

With it being fifteen
years of the acclaimed Damnation festival it was only right to bring back one
of the bands that were there at the very beginning back at Jilly’s Rockworld –
in fact they were the main stage headliners! Raging Speedhorn are the opener
this time but that doesn’t stop them from essentially coming very close to
being the show stealers right off the bat – Dan Cook joining as second vocalist
since the last time they were here has fitted right in since finding his feet
at their Stoke headline show prior to Bloodstock earlier this year and the
relentless party vibes give us our first crowd surfers and wall of death of the
day starting it off strong and it always feels good to hear The Hate Song and
Fuck The Voodooman back to back.

The Cult Never Dies
stage is in the ‘Mine’ room in the bowels of Leeds University. The small room
is packed to full as Dawn Ray’d come on. The politically inspired black metal
trio use their music to great effect enthralling the fans with the combination of drums, guitar and violin. They provide a unique take on the genre and are
proving incredibly popular. We expect big things from these lads and on the
basis of this set they are delivering to expectations.

As Dark Horse Of The
Wind hits the Jagermeister stage’s PA it can only mean that Primordial make
their return to the Damnation world but whereas in the past it felt like they
could win band of the day there’s something that feels weird about it – while
it’s good to hear The Gathering Wilderness among the set it comes after the
beginning of the tech gremlins start to hit the stage – a deal that would
continue later on with Mayhem – during Nail Their Tongues causing a loss of
momentum that never quite fully picks up again so on this occasion what
normally is great just feels… there. Hopefully as well we have some new material
when they return next.

Nine years after their
last appearance at Damnation – in a room that for those annoyed by how packed
the Cult Never Dies stage got at points this year , think of a
room that is slightly smaller than that – Alcest bring their
ethereal goodness to the Reflectory in a performance that while not touching
anything off Shelter – their brilliant shoegaze record – is the emotional
experience that has become the gold standard with Autre temps being a
particular highlight as eyes suddenly caught a bit of dust around the room…

To say The Vintage
Caravan were the surprise of the day would be to do the band an injustice. It
was fully expected that they would blow the bloody doors off the place, and
that’s exactly what they did. The Icelandic trio melded their trade mark hard
rock licks, with a hint of stoner rock to produce a cacophony of awesomeness.
Mixing humour in between songs with outright energetic showmanship they were
the shot in the arm the festival needed as the evening started to draw in.
Their upbeat extravaganza won over many a new fan, and if it wasn’t for Raging
Speedhorn they would be band of the day!

Thankfully we’re able
to catch Venom Prison as the Tone MGMT stage becomes packed for a set that
shows how far they’ve come since their mid-afternoon set three years ago with
them touring with bands such as Trivium in that time and to celebrate not only
do they give an absolutely powerful set including a wonderful speech by Larissa
condemning those that want to show hate to others – they also bring out Jo
Quail to open the set to add another layer of greatness to proceedings and
close the main programme on that stage in style.

Festival Headliners
Opeth were quite the booking coup for Gavin and his team. You could argue they
are too a little big for the festival and the main room was certainly full as
they took to the stage. Their set a cut down version of the one they are
touring Europe with at the moment, cutting three songs from the set list to
focus on older numbers the festival crowd are likely more familiar with.

However, they opened
with new track ‘Svekets Prins’ a progressive masterpiece somewhat different
from their original material. But that does not put off the fans as they enjoy
every minute of this set. For an hour and a half they regale us long past the
midnight hour and keep the 3000 fans fully engrossed in their world. Opeth are
possibly the biggest band the festival will be able to book without upgrading
to a larger venue but the 2019 edition headliners showed that both they and the
festival have what it takes to take this music scene by storm! 

Misfits” and “millennial” don’t seem like they belong in the same
sentence, the former referencing the iconic punk band formed in 1977 and the
later defining individuals born between 1981-1996. But when my buddy Gary, who
happened to be in Brooklyn, NY to attend the annual October picnic in Prospect
Park honoring the memory of Peter Steele found out he would be able to go to
the last* Misfits show, he lost his mind. “I’m a Misfits fanatic!” he declared.
“I love them! One of my favorite bands!”

Wait, what?

Gary Jimenez is 23 years old,
lives in Houston, Texas, and plays the role of Peter Steele in All Hallows Eve, A Tribute to Type O
Negative
tribute band. The resemblance between Gary and the much-revered
frontman of the legendary Brooklyn band is uncanny, almost eerie. It’s odd
enough that a guy his age is into a band that formed a few years before his
birth, but the Misfits? Come on. That didn’t even sound right. So I was curious
to see just how “into” the Misfits he really was.

There was a sense of
celebration in the air as we neared Madison Square Garden. UK punk veterans The Damned performed to a rapidly
filling arena and were clearly happy to be there. Could there possibly be a
better pairing than those two bands? Thrilling the crowd with favorites such as
“I Just Can’t Be Happy Today”, “New Rose” and “Love Song,” Dave Vanian told the
crowd, “Not too bad for a bunch of old punks. We’re not too bad too.”

Rancid followed and drew as much
excitement, covering material from their 30-year career with a particular
emphasis on the much-acclaimed album And
Out Came the Wolves
. “Olympia, WA” and “Ruby Soho” got the crowd up and
dancing, and when singer/guitarist Lars Frederiksen shouted out the names of old-school
New York hardcore bands like Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, Madball, and Sick of It
All, he was met with a roar of approval from the crowd.

Speaking of the crowd, they
were mostly middle-aged, as one might expect. Graying ponytails and wrinkles
were plentiful. There were some younger looking people, but Gary was clearly
one of the youngest-looking there.

Misfits
took the
stage to a massive roar, with Doyle stomping up and down the stage, Jerry Only
sliding across it and Glenn Danzig singing “Death Comes Ripping.” Addressing
the audience, he gloated, “They said a punk band would never play Madison Square
Garden (deafening crowd roar). We sold out (even louder crowd noise).

It’s hard to say what the
best part of the show was because it all seemed so surreal. The band on stage
looked like they were having FUN. Glenn’s voice was in top form. Jerry
destroyed multiple basses to the delight of the crowd, and much loved drummer
Dave Lombardo’s energy was the perfect fit for this historic event.

I glanced at Gary. He was
headbanging non-stop, but when I caught a glimpse of his face, he was singing
every song. Every word. Made no sense to me at all. I caught up with him after
the show to ask him about his passion for this band that graced this earth 19
years before he did.

BA: How old were you when you
were first introduced to the Misfits?

GJ: Seventeen.

BA: How were you introduced to them?

GJ:
I saw the T-shirts at school and looked them up on YouTube. I liked their
attitude, the energy, and the groove got me going.

BA: What other bands were you listening
to at the time?

GJ:
A lot of Megadeth, Pantera, and classic stuff like Ozzy and Metallica.

BA: Did you have other friends that were
into the Misfits or did you find that they were into the other bands you just
mentioned?

GJ:
Most of my friends were into newer music, psychedelic music…there were a couple
of people that had Misfits shirts but I didn’t have too many people to listen
to punk with, so I was kind of alone with that.

BA: Do you have a favorite album?

GJ:
No, I love them all that much. I even love the Graves era. I even like an album
or two with Jerry Only singing.

BA: Tell me what your favorite songs are.

GJ:
Halloween, 20 Eyes, Last Caress, Green Hell

BA: What was it like seeing them live?

GJ:
(chuckling) I daresay it changed my life, but that might be a bit of an
exaggeration. It was a f*cking amazing experience. To be able to see Jerry,
Doyle, Danzig singing…he did very well. I wasn’t sure how he was gonna do. And
Dave Lombardo from Slayer, and then that mystery guitarist. There was a lot of
energy. You could tell most of the people there that night were there for the
Misfits.

BA: What do you remember from the show?

GJ:
Let’s see, I remember Jerry breaking 5 basses. I don’t remember seeing it, but
I saw in a video later that someone was lifted in a wheelchair and Jerry gave
them a bass. I think that’s f*cking amazing and I think that’s what music
should be about, people lifting each other up. I remember seeing Doyle hitting
his guitar like he hated it, but he had such a bad ass time. Danzig was having
a great time.

BA: Was there something you wanted to
hear that they didn’t play?

GJ:
Maybe a couple of off-the-wall songs like TV Casualty. That’s a song I really
like.

 

 

BA: Do you know anyone else your age
that loves the Misfits as much as you do?

GJ:
Maybe a few people, there’s not many. If they did like it, they moved on to
other genres of music. Maybe just a small handful. Everybody else is older.
I’ll wear a Misfits T-shirt and I’ll get some 40-year old say, “Hey, what do
you know about the Misfits?” and I’ll say, “I f*cking love them. Been listening
to them since I was a teenager.”

BA: Nine times out of 10 they think
you’re wearing the T-shirt because you think it’s cool.

GJ:
Yeah.

BA: Last question: How would you describe
this band to someone who has never heard them or heard about them?

GJ:
I would tell them first that the album recordings were shit, like in the back
corner of a garage, but that the music is so f*cking powerful, and it’s catchy,
Halloween themes…I would described it as full of life, and with life you have
happiness and sadness, anger and regret, and I see a lot of unrest in the
music. In Glenn’s voice, especially when he was young, you can hear whatever it
was he was going through, it comes straight out. Since most of that was his
music, I’d say it very powerful to me.


So there you
have it. Misfits through the eyes of a millennial. Is Gary’s love for this band
typical for his generation? Perhaps not, but what this experience did prove is
something all music lovers already know: Great music stands the test of time.
And the best way to enjoy it is to be surrounded by fellow music lovers, age be
damned.

*Turns out the MSG gig was not
the last Original Misfits concert. The band has announced a December
14th show
 with Dropkick Murphys and Agnostic Front
set to take place at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.

It’s once again the time of year
where many will congregate to Leeds University Student Union for a day of metal
and avantgarde – here are our picks for 2019’s event!

Matt D’s picks

Opeth

The biggest headliner in
Damnation’s history – it’s great to finally see Mr Akerfeldt and his merry men
bring their great back catalogue of prog and metal to the festivities and with
a top 20 album in In Cauda Venenum to boot it’s going to be an excellent way to
end the festival – but of course there’s the afterparty…

Gost

For the first time ever in the
history of the festival we have an act as part of the afterparty madness and
with an act whose last album was described as a cross between French dance maniacs
Justice – a band themselves that sampled Metallica, Goblin and Ministry after
all in their songs/live shows – and the mighty Anaal Nathrakh  it fits perfectly that gets the party started
in fine fashion.

Imperial Triumphant

Headlining the Cult Never Dies
stage this year are an act that personally had one of my favourite albums of
last year – Vile Luxury with its lovingly crafted mix of doom with jazz and
with a set that will be a mix of that record, a small amount of earlier PLUS a
brand new song it’s time for more to realise why it made the list…

Godeater

Opening the Tone Mgmt stage this
year are the highly touted Scottish tech metal group whose debut album All
Flesh is Grass is a strong contender for my AOTY 2019 list, a pretty damn good
way to kick off the festival.

Dawn Ray’d

Another great way to kick off the
festival this year is the Cult Never dies stage openers – a band whose
willingness to get their message across is inspiring in a world that is trying
to stop it, I’d advise to get to the Mine area quite early as this set is going
to be one to watch.

Tim’s picks

Alunah
Fresh off the back of their brand new album ‘Violet Hour’ Alunah are here to
meet your doom needs. Fuzzy doomy riffs with more than a heavy hint of Tony
Iommi’s influence are par for the course. Musically for any doom fans these are
the real deal. However its when you add the vocals that this group stand out.
Sian’s delivery is much different from any other in the genre, it gives a depth
to the bands sound, it drives them forward. In the live arena it’s almost
mesmerising. They open the Eyesore merch stage this year and really are worth
arriving early for!

Alcest
The French duo will arrive at Damnation Festival fresh off the back of a new
album release; ‘Spiritual Instinct’ is due out on the 25th of October via
Nuclear Blast. Whether you define the band as black metal, doom, shoegaze, or
anything else; there is one thing for sure – this band oozes quality. The
atmospherics created by their musical wizardry is sublime, its enough to make
the hairs on your neck stand on end. Their 19:00 slot on the main stage will be
a must see.

Raging Speedhorn
The Corby/Stoke sextet return to the festival after a few years absence and
they are back on the main stage. This year they take the coveted opening slot,
which traditionally goes to a stand out act ready give the festival the kick
start it needs. Last year it was Cancer, prior to that Pallbearer and then
Hark. A changing of the guards has happened recently with Dan Cook (RSJ) taking
over from John Laughlin on vocals. The line up played their first shows around
Bloodstcok earlier this year and without doubt destroyed the festival. I can’t
wait to see what they have in store for that special Damnation crowd!

Primordial
Who could forget the Primordial performance on the, then, Terrorizer stage at
Damnation festival a few years ago. That day Alan and clan put on one of the
best performances in festival history, still a standout to this day and yet to
be beaten. The band meld together elements of folk and black metal to forge a
unique sound that no other can come close to replicating. With an early evening
slot on the main stage in store we expect some fireworks, whilst hoping the
annual Damnation firedrill doesn’t take place during their set.

Venom Prison
It’s testament to just how Venom Prison have come in a short space of time when
your see their lofty slot on the Tone Mgmt stage this year. Just a few years
ago on the very same stage they were an unknown quantity with a lowly slot,
after extensive touring and the release of their second album they now warrant
the headline slot on the festivals second stage. For a long time touted as the
future of Death Metal, is it their time now? This headlining set should set out
their stall and could potentially lead to bigger and better things!