Archive | July, 2013

Firewind Announce Australian Tour!

31 Jul

Keep your heads high and don’t go falling to pieces, Greek power metallers GUS G’s FIREWIND are hitting Australia for the very first time in October / November to unleash some of the finest European power metal known to man! Known by many as the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and by his tenures in Dream Evil, Nightrage and as a touring player with Arch Enemy, Gus G and his FIREWIND crew have always kept the power metal flame alive with an arsenal of memorable and catchy tunes topped off with mind bending fretwork and solos that command instantaneous air guitar and dropping jaws from all who witness it.

In their 15 year existence,GUS G’s FIREWIND have turned out seven studio albums with their latest being Few Against Many (Century Media / EMI), a live DVD called Live Premonition and their newest release, a live album entitled Apotheosis – Live 2012, so there will be no shortage of GUS G’s FIREWIND’s unique brand of power metal on offer for all in attendance!

Renowned as a high octane live act and having toured Europe, the United States and everywhere in between over the years, Australians have waited and waited patiently wondering when it was going to be their turn to see the mighty GUS G’s FIREWIND live. Well, the wait is over! GUS G’s FIREWIND are finally making their long awaited pilgrimage down under to deliver their power metal stylings to their proud and dedicated legions of Australian fans!

Tour Dates: October/November 2013

Thursday 31st Sydney – Manning Bar

Friday1st Brisbane – HiFi

Saturday 2nd Adelaide – Fowlers Live

Sunday 3rd Melbourne – Corner Hotel

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A Conversation with: Drew Goddard (Karnivool)

20 Jul

Revolution is a chaotic and unbalanced affair. It challenges the state of things, and for those who revolt against the status quo, it bears both great risk and reward. These truths are as vital in art as they are in any other realm, and it is within these redefining upheavals that Australian hard-rock architects, Karnivool thrive. We were lucky enough to chat with Drew Goddard, guitarist for Karnivool about writing the new album, and more.

Monolith-Sound: Firstly, I wanted to congratulate you on the new record. I’ve been listening to it practically non-stop the last few days. Can you tell me about what Karnivool were aiming for with Asymmetry?

Drew Goddard: We were just aiming to make a record, basically. There wasn’t any kind of grand plan from the outset, it was just uh, we wanted to keep experimenting and continue pushing the boundaries of what we can do in Karnivool as the five piece we are. I guess half way through, we could kind of see where it was heading and at that stage it was just a matter of filling in the gaps, honing in on what you’re creating, you know, you kind of get a rough picture of it. You’ve got crude directions in mind but it’s never the same. The finished product is what you originally picture what it could be. It’s just a bunch of potential possibilities. 

MS: You guys have released two singles so far; ‘We Are’ and ‘The Refusal’, the former baring a slight similarity to ‘New Day’. Had you always envisioned those songs as singles or was there another reason behind the decision to release them first?

DG: We never really write with singles in mind, that was just sort of the decision made toward the end of the process. Yeah, I dunno. We never really thought “The Refusal” would be something we would drop first, but you know, when you’re looking at the final list of songs, you make a call. It was a group decision obviously but yeah, it was never written with the idea of a single in mind. I think “New Day” was probably the most popular song we’ve written to date and we didn’t even release that as a single last time so you never really know. It’s a bit of a guessing game.

MS: Do you have a favourite song from the new album or a song that’s fun to play?

DG: Well, we haven’t really played all of them yet, but we’ve played four of them before we went in to record the album and I think they changed quite a bit from when we laid them down. They were “A.M. War”, “Aeons”, “The Refusal”, and “We Are” and my favourite out of those would have been, probably be “The Refusal”, I think. Now it’s, uh, I dunno, probably “A.M. War”. I’m digging that one, it’s something different for us. It’s something just kind of fresh as far as Karnivool is concerned and it’s a challenging one. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun.

MS: What was the reasoning behind recording the new album in Byron Bay, instead of Perth, as were Sound Awake and Themata?

DG: Well that’s were Nick DiDia is based. He moved over from the states and brought all of his gear and his family of course, and set up shop there.

MS: How did you find out about Nick?

DG: Uh, well that was thrown into the mix about six months before recording when we were really starting to weigh up the potential options for producers and engineers. Half of the decision was (Studio) 301, you know, and half of it was Nick. It just sort of came together like that. We new that we wanted to try something different from Forrester (Savell). We’ve used him for the last uh… every record so far. We wanted to change up the dynamics and make it a bit of a challenge; it was good, we needed to do that. That was half of the reasoning. Byron Bay was also a beautiful place to record. It was awesome. I’d do it again any day [laughs].

MS: One of the songs, ‘Alpha’, features an almost alien-sounding lead guitar section that completely took me by surprise the first time I heard it. What sort of changes, in regards to your writing habits, did you make when you recorded “Asymmetry”?

DG: Well for the initial ideas we tried to go for the things that we intriguing to us, that are different. We find that if the initial idea is interesting and unusual but still moves us then we’ll roll with it. It could be anything from an odd rhythm to a strange guitar tuning or a strange sound. I’d find an interesting effect or something and mess with that, and the imagination would start going and the ideas would sort of fly in. You just roll with it and see where it goes. Alpha was one that I’m really stoked with. It’s quite a different song for us; with the two halves. We were quite mystified by the way it came together. What section were you talking about specifically?

MS: Uh, it’s a tapped lead guitar part that sits in the back of the mix in the second half of the song, I think.

DG: Oh yeah, yeah. That was an Axe FX thing. I mean, It was a mixture of tapping and whammy bar and apeggiator, and I’m catching some of it in a loop, so there’s all sorts of things going on. I like that sort of stuff; loops and strange things that sound sort of ‘other worldly’, and then mixing that stuff with more natural, human sounding stuff. It’s what I dig.

MS: So what sort of rig do you use when you go on tour and play live?

DG: I’m still predominately using the 5150 which I’ve been using since day-dot. That’s the common denominator in most of our guitar sounds. When it comes to tracking in the studio, I use anything I can get my hands on that works. In the past it’s always been the 5150, alongside something else. I blew a tube early on in the process so I thought, maybe this is the time I try different things and experiment with all kinds of different amps in the studio. I’m in the process of re-building my live rig at the moment to accommodate some of the different sounds. I think I need something with an extra channel.  Axe FX is something I use quite a bit of, just mainly f0r effect, not for guitar or distortion sounds. I’m trying to combine that with a couple of tube amps and see what I can come up with but I’m still trying to keep it simple.

MS: You mentioned the Axe FX; how do you feel about the digital modelling amps like the Axe FX or Kemper? Do you think they’ll ever replace tube amps?

DG: I hope not. I think they’re amazing. They’re fucking incredible. The Axe FX… the sounds on there, you just wouldn’t be able to get with an analogue pedal or just a tube amp. To me, what I dig the most when I see bands, you know, they turn their amps up to eleven and make the speakers work. They’re literally pushing air. That’s what I want to capture, that movement. A lot of the time now, there are bands that tour with just digital rigs and I don’t know… to me, Meshuggah is the only band that can do it and get away with it, with flying colours. I think there’s definitely something to it, and it’s just personal preference really, but to me, nothing beats the hot tubes and the speakers getting, you know, blown up, flying past my kneecaps. I don’t wear in-ears for the same reason as well. Which is probably not great for my hearing [laughs] I’ll probably end up getting in ears but I dare say I’ll ever stop using a tube amp. I think it’s a combination that works; I’m able to use analogue and digital and they’re both awesome in different ways.

MS: A balanced rig?

DG: Yeah, yeah for sure. Definitely.

MS: How do you go about writing music? Can you sit down and hammer out songs or do you rely on spontaneous inspiration?

DG: We rely both on spontaneity and time. As far as the initial ideas, that’s all spontaneity. It comes a lot from jamming in a room, working on an idea and seeing what happens. Something that just sort of happens between band members or one person if they’re just sitting in the room just sort of letting it come through them. But when it comes to working on a final structure of a song and developing it, that’s a time thing. We always have to leave the songs to gestate in that way. Some songs have come together really quickly. “The Refusal” was one of them that just seemed to come together in… probably about two weeks, and then there are songs like, oh man… Sky Machine took a long time, that was four years. I mean, even “Change” on the last record took six years to write.

MS: Wow.

DG: Usually to me my favourite songs are the ones that do come together very quickly, because it really sums up the moment in time whereas “Change”, it’s one of my favourite songs that we’ve written, just for the reason that it sums up six years of evolution, you know, within one song, and it’s called “Change”. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but it can be frustrating sometimes when it doesn’t come thick and fast but you just have to trust that the ideas will keep coming and you’ve just gotta sometimes force them. If it doesn’t come together you’ve gotta slap it together in some form and then work on it.

MS: Asbolutely. So do you suffer from writer’s block often? Is it something that you came up against during the stages of writing “Asymmetry”?

DG: Oh yeah, man. Definitely. Writer’s block comes in different forms, I think. I can come in the form of not having enough ideas or sometimes it can come to me in the form of too many ideas or just not enough focus. You need to shut off the imagination a bit because there’s there’s two sides of the brain and if you let too many ideas in you just become overwhelmed with the possibilities of where something could go. Sometimes you  just need to block that out and just work using the more rational side of the brain. I think that’s a common thing for all musos; writer’s block. It’s always there.

MS: Was ‘Asymmetry’ a collaborative effort in terms of writing?

DG: Yeah, it’s collaborative but I mean, it was over a long period of time. It’s more a couple of people, predominately it was probably Jon and myself forming the foundations for most of the songs. Quite often it would come from an idea of Steve and Jon jamming together but a lot of the time it was Jon and myself sitting in the room developing ideas and structures. A lot of the parts, because I mean, Jon, our bass player was a guitarist first, and I was originally a drummer as well, so we bounce ideas off each other really well in that way. A lot of the time Jon’s brain works in such a weird and fantastic way that it’s usually me trying to moderate it, you know? He sort of sits there and stares at the walls and there’s just this oncoming… you can’t stop the flood of ideas that come through him and he’s just playing and you’re like “That’s amazing”. You just don’t know when to stop and say “Alright, that’s enough” and then he’ll play something else that’s awesome and you’ll be like “Alright, keep going!” [laughs] So it’s just trying to streamline that process a lot of the time and keep moving forward. Sometimes you just get so many ideas that you get bamboozled by it. But yeah, overall it was a collaborative effort even though some people sort of come in at different times, and it was a bit more of a long-distance relationship this time round in that way.

MS: Unfortunately we’re running out of time, so if you had to give some advice to someone that wants to tour in a band and break into the music industry?

DG: Play as many shows as you can and don’t get fucked over by dodgy promoters. Just play and play and play; it’s all about gigging. Don’t try and take any short cuts, just work on your craft, work on your fan base and hone in on what it is you want to do. I think by doing that, you’ll find your own thing, your own space. You have to make sacrifices and you have to forgo a normal life  in a lot of ways if you want to be in a professional touring band. That’s the big thing. But you know, it’s awesome, it’s rewarding.

MS: It’s been amazing talking to you today, thank you so much, Drew, and congratulations again on the new album.

DG: Thanks, William.

Karnivool’s third album “Asymmetry was released on the 19th of August. Listen to “The Refusal below. 

Click here to purchase “Asymmetry from iTunes.

Karnivool Asymmetry tour dates
with special guests Northlane

Tuesday, 30th July
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide (All Ages/Lic)
Tix: http://www.venuetix.com.au

Thursday, 1st August
Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne (GA Floor/GA seated balcony)
Tix: http://www.oztix.com.au

Friday, 2nd August
Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne(GA Floor/GA seated balcony)
Tix: http://www.oztix.com.au

Sunday, 4th August
The Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney (All Ages/Lic)
Tix: http://www.oztix.com.au and http://www.bigtopsydney.com

Wednesday 7 August
Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane
Tix: http://www.oztix.com.au

Sunday 11 August
Metro City, Perth
Tix: http://www.oztix.com.au

Karnivool – ‘Asymmetry’

18 Jul

Karnivool has emerged from their recording sessions at Studios 301 in Byron Bay to present us with a new collection of their musical ingenuity with the album title of ‘Asymmetry’. The band has come together after a releasing ‘Sound Awake’ nearly four years ago with an album which has extended their eclectic musical sense, incorporating far more atmospheric passages within their songs. This may alienate the more dedicated fans that have been following them from their formative years that have been left demanding the sound that put the band in the limelight of the progressive music scene in Australia.

‘Aum’ is the opening track, a good precursor which prepares the listener and gets them in a headspace to comprehend what is to come. The stuttering bass and guitars create a soundscape that settles the listener into a place of aural tranquillity, like resetting one’s palate with the scent of coffee beans. Coincidentally, the song draws comparisons to ‘Lost Key’s by Tool, which isn’t too far of a stone’s throw from the band’s musical influences.

The album lends itself to many musical devices which are tied into Karnivool’s style (polymeters, polyrhythms, syncopation), but the fresh of breath air to their compositions comes with the more interesting use of effects subtly leaked throughout many of the songs, particularly applied to the bass. The tremolo bass effected bass in ‘We Are’ makes a great appearance, and intriguing application to how it comes in and out during the first half of the song. This is paired up with the over saturated fuzz guitars in the later half to build to a climax of a sensual peeling back of most of the instrumentation, leaving back Ian Kenny’s vocals to carry an almost a capella outro.

An interesting inclusion to the album is the track titled ‘Asymmetry’, a short musique concrète backing track which seems to act like a prelude to the section half of the album. The track includes eerie and disjointed vocals and distorted guitars ringing out over the top of the piece. This song is by far one of Karnivool’s more experimental tracks, but ties in with the album’s atmospheric sensibility to be a suitable inclusion.

One of the more intriguing musical directions that the band has taken is with the song ‘Float’. Almost starting like a lullaby, the song features an uneasy sounding guitar evocative a Danny Elfman composition from a Tim Burton film. Kenny’s vocals softly caresses the track in a way that shows a quality in his voice that he seldom shows off, but just as emotive as when he goes at it in full force.

The album is definitely a different step from Karnivool’s previous albums, with the core progressive sensibility of the band being evident, but there are far fewer heavier sections when compared and contrasted to the ‘Sound Awake’ and ‘Themata’ albums. ‘The Refusal’ and ‘Nachash’ are great examples of the heavy sound that they were better known for, but this album has got many great moments from the interesting use of effects throughout to create the atmospheric sections. This album has the potential to grow on any Karnivool fans that may feel alienated at first, but they’ll need to give the album a chance to heard in full, otherwise several of the experimental tracks may come off as obscure.

8/10

 

Karnivool’s new album, ‘Asymmetry’ is available for pre-order here:

http://www.karnivool.com.au/music

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Behemoth Announce Australian Tour!

18 Jul

‘Interior City’ – The Gabriel Construct

16 Jul

‘Interior City’ is an album which brings elements from numerous genres which can leave the most dedicated progressive metal fan wondering how The Gabriel Construct pulled it off.

Drawing influence from an outer worldly Dream Theatre and The Mars Volta, the album is a warped avant-garde musical journey from the moment you start the first track. ‘Arrival in a Distant Land’ opens the album with an experimental piano piece which would suit a cinematic thriller scene, making use of block chords with a sprinkle of alien high register notes and unorthodox extended piano sound effects – this pays homage to the work John Cage (‘Dream’ meets a prepared piano). As the song progresses, Gabriel Lucas Riccio reveals his vocal tenderness, which compliments his performance behind the piano. The album is also entirely the composed by Riccio, with the remaining instrumentation being credited as performed by numerous session musicians.

From there on, the song smashes in with a collective of staple metal instruments and musicality that makes the composition standout as intricate and highly developed. Throughout the album, you hear exotic elements sneak through, lending itself to the sounds of The Mars Volta, but replacing the Latin sounds with a more Middle Eastern undertone. This is further enhanced with Riccio’s voice being reminiscent of Serj Tankian and Maynard James Keenan use of parallel vocal harmonies throughout many of the tracks.

This album is not for the faint of heart, with several songs tipping well over the seven minute mark and makes use of unconventional compositional techniques. The palatability of the more experimental tracks, such as ‘Curing Somatization’ may be alienating to those who have not heavily studied music. The abstractness of the music, particularly the Buckethead-esque guitar solo, seems to be designed to evoke an emotional response to the listener, which can be far more engaging to the listener than one may initially think.

It has been a while since this reviewer has listened to an artist/band that has released an album with such a wide range of textures that aren’t heavily derived from synthesizers. A special mention goes out to the inclusiveness of the opening saxophone and continuing brass section in ‘Inner Sanctum’, particularly for a track that turns into an industrial slow marching song. This album demonstrates what one man has going on inside his head, and it is quite remarkable to see it all come out with the chaotic sections blending in to the cohesive sections without being too abrasive.

8/10

 

The Gabriel Construct Facebook

The Gabriel Construct Official Website

Twelve Foot Ninja Announce Shuriken Tour!

16 Jul

Twelve Foot Ninja bring their sharpened live show to Australian venues this August-September-October for their last Aussie tour before heading to Europe, USA, and Canada.
Fresh from their national tour with the legendary Fear Factory and recent praise from the likes of Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Dino Cazares (Fear Factory), Wolf Van Halen (Van Halen/Tremonti), Misha Mansoor (Periphery) and the folks at Soundwave, the genre-bending five-piece have gone from strength to strength since the release of their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Silent Machine’ in late 2012.

Twelve Foot Ninja recently broke a world record for the highest amount crowdfunded for a music video. While the massive production for said video is currently underway, Twelve Foot Ninja have released a brand new tour scrapbook video for new single ‘Shuriken’, documenting on-tour experiences of the past 12 months.

Presale 9am Mon 15 July at twelvefootninja.com
General Onsale 12pm Wed 17 July from the usual outlets

August 30 Ferntree Gully Hotel, Ferntree Gully
September 5 Coffs Hotel, Coffs Harbour
September  6 Tempo Hotel, Brisbane
September 7 Parkwood Tavern, Gold Coast
September 12 Zierholz UC, Canberra
September 13 Waves, Wollongong
September 14 Manning Bar, Sydney
September 19 Small Ballroom, Newcastle
September 20 Entrance Leagues, The Entrance
September 21 Mona Vale Hotel, Mona Vale
September 26 Prince of Wales, Bunbury
September 27 Rosemount Hotel, Perth
October 4 Corner Hotel, Melbourne
October 5 Fowlers Live, Adelaide

‘Night’ – Beijing

16 Jul

Best way to sum up Beijing’s debut full-length album, ‘Night’? Raw wailing emotion! The album has a sound which steps back from an overproduced sound and allows the band to shine through without any studio gimmickry. The album lends itself to be heavily rock guitar driven, with the band tipping their hat to the late 1990 and early 2000 rock bands of Jimmy Eats World, Taking Back Sunday and The Killers. Paired with spacious guitar bending solos, roomy drums, and pounding low-end from the bass, the band gives singer, Eric Thornberg, a foundation of music which suits his howling and lamenting vocals.

Musically, the album does a great job to contrast the songs to break up the feel. The first half comprises of solid rock tracks, with elements that keep the listener glued to the groove which gives the impression that they drew influence from the early work of The Killers. The album breaks up the pace by introducing ‘Let Down’ mid-way through the album, an acoustic guitar ballad that evolves to a full band build up to the climatic ending vocal hook, reminiscent of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ with more grunt.

The album picks the pace back up with the up-tempo track titled ‘Standing’, a song of constant rhythmic movement from the drums, compliments of Bill Pruchnicki behind the kit. This track has a quality that gives it a dancing feel that reels you to the chorus, a great quality that reaches out to a more mainstream audience, which shows that band isn’t afraid to accommodate to a wide range of listeners.

Eric Thornberg’s vocals is a well-rounded singer, knowing when to lunge his vocals to give the power that the song needs, but also is able to be versatile enough to be delicate in executing the more sensitive passages throughout the album. His unpretentious gives a quality of emotion that gives a real feel to how the songs comes across, paying particular notice to the subtleness and slight inflections when he digs into the lyrics during the bridge of ‘Violent’.

The album does a good job in delivering a sound of the band that most likely represents what the band would sound like when they play live. I look forward to seeing how this band develops over the coming years, especially with the wide range of different influences that come across from this album.

8/10

Beijing Facebook

Beijing Official Website