My apologies for the lack of articles this year, it’s been a little hectic. I anticipate that in November or December it will settle down, and the site will be back to having articles go up with the previous frequency, and a new look to it too. So thanks for the patience, and hopefully you’ll have something new to read soon! Cheers.
It goes without saying that Sepultura are metal legends. Their long and well-respected career and collection of songs are testament to that fact. We had the absolute honour and privilege to talk with their long-time guitarist, Andreas Kisser, about their most recent album Kairos (their 12th overall), their new drummer Eloy Casagrande, music through the internet and about finally returning to Australia!
“We never tried to copy nothing from the past but Kairos talks about Sepultura and the 26 years of history, celebrating the moment of today, what we are now…”
If you haven’t already heard Kairos (released last July), then you are truly missing out. Sounding like something from the early 90’s, yet with a definite modern edge, it rumbles, screams and demands to be heard, preferably at high volumes. Andreas says of its ‘past and present’ sound, “We never tried to copy nothing from the past, but Kairos talks about Sepultura and the 26 years of history, celebrating the moment of today, what we are now, so naturally some stuff can resemble some old stuff. We are influenced by ourselves, we talked about our experiences, we have lyrics for our fans, our families, friends, labels, managers and all that were and are part of our history. There’s a little bit of everything that we did before plus some of the new feelings and ideas we have today.”
Amongst the more interesting songs on the album are ‘Mask’ and ‘Just One Fix’, the latter a cover of influential industrial-groove metal band Ministry. When asked of the choice of having ‘Just One Fix’ in the middle of the album sequence, Kisser says “Because Ministry was one of our big influences, especially in the early 90′s, they changed the way heavy music could be presented, with simpler riffs, drum loops and industrial sounds. I think our album ‘Chaos A.D.’ has a lot of Ministry in it and now we have the chance to pay tribute to this great band.”
The album also has a second cover song (as a bonus song at the end of the album), The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’. “The Prodigy is a band that we admire and respect a lot and I love them live, we never did anything like them so that was our challenge, to ‘Sepulturize’ them.”
The intentions were far different for ‘Mask’. “The song was written specially for people on the internet that don’t show their names or their faces and criticize everything they hear or see, they don’t show themselves but they own the truth. They are the majority of people who doesn’t have a life, they point their fingers to everybody but themselves, bunch of cowards.”
One of the key elements of Kairos’ powerful sound is the proficient drumming of Jean Dolabella, who announced he was leaving the band in November. Kairos was the second album Dolabella had played on, after joining the band during the touring cycle for ‘Dante XXI’ in 2006. There was a little confusion when the drummer told the band of his decision to leave, as Andreas explains. “…he didn’t know what he wanted really. I guess he didn’t have too much support from his house and family, so he decided to stay closer to them and do something else in music. Too bad he left the band with an unfinished job, we are still touring for Kairos and we have a lot to do this year. But he is an amazing musician, brought a lot of good stuff for Sepultura and I wish the best of luck in his new career… was all good, we talked a lot, since the beginning of 2011 and after the Machine Head tour in South America he left, we had time to prepare the change without too much hassle.”
“Eloy… did an audition and he was amazing, really powerful with great technique. He is a young guy but with some experience. He did a great tour with us last year and we are glad he’s with us now.”
The surprise of the departure of Dolabella was dwarfed by the shock of his replacement – 20-year-old São Paulo-native Eloy Casagrande, from Brazilian groups Gloria and Andre Matos. Kisser elaborates on how Casagrande came to be the new Sepultura drummer: “Eloy was a suggestion from many friends, I knew him for a while, saw him playing with Andre Matos and with his last band Gloria but didn’t know how he would be playing Sepultura stuff, so we did an audition and he was amazing, really powerful with great technique. He is a young guy but with some experience. He did a great tour with us last year and we are glad he’s with us now.” Of what he expects Eloy to bring to the band, Kisser says “Lots of energy and motivation, soon we will start writing some new material and let’s see what kind of ideas he can bring to the band.”
Casagrande’s first live shows with Sepultura were a mere 2 weeks after the announcement of him entering the band, inEurope, on the Thrashfest Classics Tour, with Exodus, Destruction, Heathen, and Mortal Sin. All of the bands played songs from their classic thrash albums – in Sepultura’s case, it was their 1989 breakthrough Beneath The Remains, 1991’s legendary Arise and 1993’s groundbreaking Chaos A.D. Andreas says of Thrashfest and Eloy’s introduction to the band’s live performances, “Well, Kairos talk(s) about Sepultura’s history and those three albums are one of the most important for us, they are a part of what we are talking about today, after all they never left us, we always play songs from these albums, we enjoy doing them and the crowd too. The tour was a great opportunity for us to play songs that we didn’t play for so long and was a great tour to present a new drummer. Eloy did an amazing job playing the old stuff, it was a great school for him and us as well, we had a great time, jamming with all the bands and having a lot of fun.”
Amongst the other shows the band played in 2011, was one with the Orquestra Experimental de Repertório in São Paulo. The band hopes to repeat the performance at some stage in the future (filmed as part of an upcoming documentary made by the band), as Andreas details. “The plan is to do a proper recording for the orchestra show, we did the show in a festival in São Paulobut we didn’t have the recording unit to capture everything. It was the first show and everything went really well, it worked out so great and it was very powerful. We had the chance to play songs that we never did before like ‘Inquisition Symphony’, ‘Ways of Faith’ and ‘Ludwig Van’, our version of Beethoven’s 9th (Symphony). The documentary is under way, we are filming everything that is happening with us, we have no release date yet.”
“I think is stupid to try to copy something that is not there anymore, we have to respect what we have, work with that and not be a slave from the past.”
Technology has increasingly become a part of music (whether as a help or a hindrance), but it does have its benefits for the band. Says Kisser of whether singer Derrick Green’s move to Prague, Czech Republic has caused any issues, “No, not at all. We do our practice inBraziland when we need him he comes down and all the rest is really easy to resolve through internet.” While on the subject of the internet, he goes on to say “I do not download music from the net, I have no patience but the internet is here to stay and we have to deal with that. The good thing about it is that today you have more chances to show your music without being dependent of a label, the channel is open for anyone and this is awesome, more freedom and less power to the labels. I think we are still on a transition phase, everything happened too fast so we are still trying to adapt to this new scenario.”
Without a doubt the question the band are asked the most is about the band’s relations with former bandmates Max and Igor Cavalera. While the interviewer didn’t dwell on the subject, Andreas was happy to add that while a reunion with the Cavaleras is not on the horizon, “I have an open channel to contact them which is really cool, something that was totally closed some years ago. Is nice to talk to them again without the pressure of working together.” Andreas is clearly happy with the band’s current situation, judging by the response to a question on whether Green would take up Max Cavalera’s rhythm guitar position. “No, not really and why? Just because Max played guitar? I think is stupid to try to copy something that is not there anymore, we have to respect what we have, work with that and not be a slave from the past. Derrick is not a thrash guitar player, he can play guitar but not Sepultura’s music, he’s using his abilities on percussion and he’s developing a really cool style on it.”
That percussive flavour the band have shown for the past two decades and beyond is one of the many styles the band have incorporated into their unique sound. So what other musical styles are there to expand to? According to Kisser, “Who knows? That’s why music is so great, we never know what can come up but we are still very much into the ‘Kairos’ feelings and we didn’t start discussing the next work.”
After waiting since November 2003, Aussie fans will finally get another chance to experience the band’s furious live show, as Andreas says, “I can’t believe is that long, I can’t wait to go back. We have plans to tour there in October, hopefully everything will work and we finally will be playing there, I love the place and I miss you all so much, amazing crowds, very energetic and fanatical.”
With heroes such as Sepultura, Aussie fans have every reason to be fanatical.
Andreas Kisser: guitars, vocals
Derrick Green: vocals
Paulo Xisto Jr.: bass
Eloy Casagrande: drums
It’s hard not to love Frankenbok and their attitude and spirit. Live the moment, jam some tunes, drink up, grow your beard and who gives a shit about everything else! Recently we had the chance to chat to vocalist Dan McDougall and bassist/vocalist Tim Miedecke about all things in the Bok universe.
“We write music for ourselves first, and if people like what we do then awesome. If not, we don’t give a fuck, we will still… have a great time doing it.”
A fairly tight-knit universe it is too. Says McDougall, “…we are all such good mates and love playing music together. We write music for ourselves first, and if people like what we do then awesome. If not, we don’t give a fuck, we will still turn up to jam two nights a week, get in the van and go play shows to whoever turns up, play our fucking asses off and have a great time doing it. When you have been around for this long in the Aussie metal scene, not much else will motivate you to keep going! We are just real fortunate that we get along so well. Since I have been in the band we have not had one single fight or argument. That is rare as fuck and we know it.”
The band released their fourth album, ‘The End Of All You Know’ in the middle of 2011 (they also have two EPs to their name), and unlike their previous effort, ‘The Last Ditch Redemption’ EP, they “…decided to go with a basic theme, but not a concept album at all”, McDougall explains. “We also didn’t want any samples on this album, which is a first for Frankenbok. Just stripped down, raw and brutal as fuck.”
He goes on to explain about the amazingly detailed cover art for the new album, “the artwork was done by a very good friend of mine, a guy I’ve known since we were kids named Tom Emery. I had this crazy idea a few years back for a front cover, and I couldn’t think of anyone else who could pull it off but Tommo. That being said, Tommo is a pretty messed up dude, let’s just say that life has not been all that kind to him, what with getting Crohn’s Disease when he was a teenager (a severely debilitating bowel disease that he will suffer from for the rest of his life) and also having bi-polar [disorder] and severe depression. But his crazy mind comes up with some fucked-up shit, and that’s what has happened with this picture.”
“I came to him with the basic premise, which was the all seeing eye (which in this case represents the structure of society) being attacked by an angry mob made up of people of all walks of life. I wanted them to be all attacking each other as well as the pyramid, to represent the fact that if/when the shit hits the fan and the western world turns to shit, that there would be no group loyalty, just every man for himself. And from that Tommo came up with this crazy image, it took him about a year to complete and literally nearly killed him as was going through some really bad shit at the time. But he completed the task, I am very proud of him for seeing it through to the end, and the response to the cover has been amazing.”
McDougall continues, “We wanted the cover to be a work of art in itself, as these days it’s so easy to just Photoshop an image together. We wanted something more genuine. The fucked thing was that after he completed the front cover, he had a few months off before we approached him to do the back cover! We wanted it to be the same image, but set hundreds of years in the future, to show the finite nature of the human race, that after we are gone (and we will be, no species on earth has survived forever and we will be no exception) that the earth will be handed back to the master of all things, Mother Nature. And no I’m not a fucking hippy, it’s just a fact.”
‘The End Of All You Know’ came out three years after the previous EP. Of the gap, McDougall details, “We all either work full time, have our own businesses, some of us have families, and as much as we’d all love to be doing The Bok full time it still is only something we can do in our spare time. That and we recorded the album in our rehearsal space on pro-tools then had it mixed in the studio with the mighty Reggie Bowman, and as good as it is to be able to take your time, what ends up happening is that you end up taking longer than you expect. Let’s just say we were all very relieved when we finally had the bloody finished product in our hands! We have learnt a lot of lessons on how to record our own albums, and next time we will have the process a lot more streamlined.”
The latest album was the first released on the band’s own Fair Dinkum Records label, which will see releases by other artists as well. “We are using ‘The Bok’ to iron out the bugs and put a lot of our ideas to the test, and if it is successful we plan on signing other bands. We don’t plan on releasing just metal bands, more bands we think uphold the label name of being a fair dinkum band”, he says.
The guys have plenty of material in which to draw their live set from. Of picking which songs get picked, Miedecke says “We try to play to the band’s strengths and pull songs from any era to get the job done. Obviously the emphasis is on ‘The End Of All You Know’ this time around, but if the mood takes us we will hook into ‘Greetings & Salutations’, ‘Counterpart’, ‘Victims’ and anything else that we’ve had time to jam on. We would play ‘em all if we were given the stage time but usually it’s like: you’ve got 40 minutes and a beard and go, go, go!”
It appears that the band have plenty of chances to trundle out a few oldies too, as McDougall details. “At the moment we are doing a capital city tour to launch the new album, and [this] year we plan on doing a more extensive tour with more regional and out of the way shows to promote the album and also a DVD that we will be releasing around March/April [this] year. It will have a full live gig we filmed earlier [last] year, plus a full length documentary about the band. In regards to overseas, we do have our eyes set on getting the fuck out of here at some stage later [this] year, I’m actually heading to Europe in a weeks time to see some bands and start spruiking ‘The Bok’ to some people over there, so hopefully something will come of that. If not at least I will get to see Exodus in Italy. Fuck yeah!”
“I don’t know if you can call what we’ve got going on Bee Gees style harmonies but it’s definitely a sound that can split ya ears.”
Frankenbok aren’t strangers to things getting… well, strange. Of the period of time of the release of their third album, ‘Murder of Songs’ in 2007, when then-singer and guitarist Adam B. Metal had already left the band, Miedecke says “We specialize in shit getting weird, that’s for sure, but we knew we had the ‘Last Ditch’ sewn up so we headed out on the Other Side of Hell Tour – Tales of Murder and Redemption to really take care of business. I really like ‘Murder of Songs’ and I think B Metal sang, played and engineered his ass off. We still give ‘Triumph’ a hiding on a regular basis.”
On the subject of Mr. Metal, Miedecke continues, “I should mention that the laughs I’ve had with Adam B. Metal are second only to time spent with Yeti [current guitarist]. B. Metal is a very creative dude and I’m proud to have been in a band with him and I think ‘Blood Oath’ and ‘Murder’ are testament to that. But hey, the guy needed to conduct his business and his band ‘The Departed’ from Warrnambool so that’s just the way it rolled out. At least he gets to go to Cheese World any time he wants to.”
B. Metal isn’t the only former member of the band that still gets enquired about these days. Of former guitarist Scott Lang, Miedecke enthuses “…I’ve known [Lang] since I was a toddler, so of course we’re still in touch and I love his adonis ass. He was almost back in the band once ‘Danimal’ [McDougall] was onboard but he ended up living in Perth. And then before I knew Yeti was there riding tandem on the ‘Wylde Stallion’ with ‘Azza’ [Butler, guitarist] and all hell has been breakin’ loose ever since. Gives Mick and I a chance to really lock in and focus on our cocksmanship… metaphorically speaking, of course. Furthermore, once ‘Danimal’ was on board, we really got into the dual and triple vocal thing. I don’t know if you can call what we’ve got going on Bee Gees style harmonies but it’s definitely a sound that can split ya ears. Anyway, Scotty turned up on our ‘Last Ditch’ tour and was in the van for a few days and busted out a coupla tunes in NSW. That was solid gold. He still offers Obi-Wan Kenobi type wisdom to us from time to time. Reflex!”
Miedecke finishes up, “…at least apart from the drum machine and John Sankey, we don’t have any drummer problems!”
Finally, on the ever-present subject of downloading of music (legally or otherwise), McDougall says “In relation to downloading other music, the only time I would do this is if I cannot find a release anywhere to buy. If I can’t buy a physical copy I will get it from iTunes. I love iTunes, it’s the shit.” On others downloading his band’s music, he suggests “It’s an inevitable part of the modern world. But we have gone out of our way with the new album to give people every reason NOT to download the album. When you buy the album from us directly you get a free album cover shirt, stubby holder, A2 poster of the front cover and sticker all for $30 delivered to your door. Now that’s a bargain in anyone’s book.”
They’ve always delivered on their modus operandi of beers and beards. Now they’ve thrown bargains into the mix!
Dan “Danimal” McDougall: vocals
Aaron “Azza” Butler: guitars
Tim “Cobra” Miedecke: bass, vocals
Mick “Nitro” Morley: drums
Nathan “Yeti” Amatnieks: guitars
The future looks bright for Adelaide Melodic Death Metal practitioners Universum. They’ve released two albums (both released internationally), shared stages with such important international bands as Soilwork, Children of Bodom, Cradle of Filth and Dragonforce, and both of their guitarists became the first Australians listed on the international roster of endorsees of guitar manufacturers Ibanez. We spoke to one of those guitarists, Stephen Murphy, about their past, present and future.
“…we’d rather people get a chance to hear our music by means of illegal download than not at all.”
Universum have a definite futuristic feel to their lyrics and accompanying artwork. “‘Mortuus Machina’ is somewhat of a concept album”, says Murphy. “‘Mortuus Machina’ is an approximate Latin translation for ‘the dead machine’ which was the basic concept on which the lyrics and the album were loosely based around. The application of the ‘dead machine’ concept on ‘Mortuus Machina’ varies from our world and societies as a dying organic machine, to extinction from futuristic cyber controlled intelligent life forms, to internal conflicts and emotions of the human machine.”
Murphy says of working with vocalist Christian Älvestam (of Scar Symmetry/Solution .45 notoriety), “Universum are long time fans of many of Christian Älvestam’s projects so when we started work on ‘Mortuus Machina’ we asked him if he would like to be involved, and thankfully he accepted. Working with Christian was a great experience, his performances were exceptional and really contribute positively to the album. Michael Soininen (guitarist) and I wrote the lyrics and music for Christian’s parts but Christian wrote the actual vocals melodies he performed.”
It’s obvious to those who know a little about Universum that they clearly have one eye on their homeland, and one on the European continent, in terms of influence, musicianship and work ethic. Their 2008 debut album ‘Leto Destinatus’ and their 2011 follow-up ‘Mortuus Machina’ were both mixed and mastered at Black Lounge Studios by experienced Swede Jens Bogren (who has also worked with Opeth, Soilwork and Amon Amarth amongst others). ‘Mortuus Machina’ also features appearances by Ola Frenning (guitars – ex-Soilwork), Marios Iliopoulos and Olof Mörck (guitars – Nightrage) and Tommy Tuovinen (vocals – My Grain), as well as Älvestam.
Murphy says of the artwork for the album, it “…was created by Seth [Anton Siro] from Septic Flesh. Seth read some lyrics from the album and then he basically developed the artwork concept from his own interpretations of the lyrical meanings. Each page of the booklet features different pieces of art with a similar concept and theme throughout.”
Of the noted European (specifically Scandinavian) flavour of the band, he explains “We are inspired by many European and Scandinavian metal bands and we have utilised Swedish metal production techniques on both albums, which contributes to that sound like that of those mentioned, but our biggest influences are probably from older metal bands such as Pantera, Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater etc. Other genres that influence the band varies considerabl[y] from member to member, however I could say that we are inspired by acts from most genres including metal (all kinds including death metal, power metal, prog metal, black metal, etc), rock, classical, jazz and electronic styles.”
Murphy’s and fellow guitarist Soininen’s endorsement signing by international guitar giants Ibanez is explained, “Both Michael and I have played Ibanez guitars for nearly as long as we have been playing guitar, and whilst we own guitars from other manufacturers, our Ibanez axes are our go-to instruments for all Universum recordings and live performances. The endorsement deal with Ibanez was secured upon the release of our debut album ‘Leto Destinatus’ when we contacted Ibanez and sent them a copy of our album. Fortunately Ibanez replied favourably with a nice contract!”
The signing of such ‘nice contracts’ has helped the band advance to their current point, but they’re hoping that their own hard-work will bring them their long-term goals. They “…currently have bookings and plans for some more international supports and national mini tours in 2012. These dates and other artists will be announced by the tour promoters, probably in early 2012.”
Murphy goes on, “The ultimate goal would be for Universum to become a full-time international touring act and to have the income and resources available to enable us to be writing and recording or rehearsing and touring all year, every year. With each album release we gain more exposure and generate a bigger fan base so hopefully one day maybe we will be able achieve this goal, hopefully before we are all over 50!”, he says with a laugh.
Of getting that exposure, Murphy tells us his views on downloading: “It is a bit disappointing that 98% of the people who have our music have downloaded it illegally but we’d rather people get a chance to hear our music by means of illegal download than not at all. The big downside to illegal downloading of music is the financial impact it has on bands. If the majority of our listeners paid for our albums we would be able to tour more extensively and spend more time on writing and recording new music. We sincerely thank all the fans who have purchased our music to date; your support enables us to continue as a viable entity and to write, produce and perform better and better music.”
One can only hope that the band receive that support, because it could take them to the heights they’re planning for.
Adam Soininen – vocals
Michael Soininen – guitars
Stephen Murphy – guitars
Doug Clark – bass
Rachael Madden – keyboards
Jaron Soininen – drums
Truth Corroded are Aussie metal warriors. They’ve released three albums and an E.P. They’ve toured through Australia and Asia multiple times. They run their own label. They’ve supported the cream of international metal bands. But they clearly want more. We had a chat with TC singer Jason North about the band’s future, working with international legends on their latest album, and much more.
“…we have had nothing but positive reviews and responses. We have had a lot of label interest as well which is always great and we finally had the album released in Europe & Japan…”
You have to admire the way Adelaide band Truth Corroded go about their work. They release nut-crushingly heavy albums, tour relentlessly, but still have the time and energy to run their own label, Truth Inc. Records. But as is their way, they take on the extra responsibility with a sense of diligence. “I guess it can be hard work, but if you aren’t willing to do it then realistically no one else will”, comments North. “The way the Australian music industry is to metal these days isn’t that great, so it’s best to put it out yourself. Through the years we have been very lucky to work with some great people and businesses, so once you get into the groove of putting out releases, it gets easier. The hard part is getting the everyday metalhead to take note of Australian Metal, that’s the challenge most bands face. But yeah when you get the final product it’s very rewarding because that last 6-12 months of work is sitting right there in your hand.”
Truth Corroded’s latest album, ‘Worship The Bled’, (released in April 2011) is an audio testament to their no-bullshit attitude. With no Auto-Tune, programmed drums or crooning in sight, it delivers a ton-tonne hammer blow to the senses. North says of the reaction to the album, “it’s been great, we have had nothing but positive reviews and responses. We have had a lot of label interest as well which is always great and we finally had the album released in Europe & Japan by Ultimhate Records… our focus at the moment is those regions and then hopefully the U.S. to come. That’s the goal, because as an artist you want your music available everywhere…”
Even though the band have suffered adversities that can de-rail some bands, they instead see them as an opportunity to better their product, as North explains. “Our drummer at the time decided he would leave the band 2 weeks before we were scheduled to begin recording the album, [and] we had already booked a lot of the studio time and the mixing in Sweden… so we had to think of something and fast. Our U.S. / Europe publicist Alex at Team All About The Music suggested we look into Kevin Talley [Six Feet Under, Misery Index, Chimaira, Dääth amongst others] as he does a lot of session work. So we contacted him and started talking about the album and songs etc, he definitely liked what he heard and agreed to help us out.”
“We had most of the drums already programmed on drum machine but told Kevin to use that as a base only and add his own flair etc. When we got the tracks back a few weeks later we were blown away, he definitely added another dimension to the songs and gave us a lot more inspiration with some of the tracks to try new things. I can’t speak high[ly] enough of the work Kevin did for us and to have someone of his calibre on your album is amazing, and also he was going to be in Slayer before Lombardo came back so you can’t get much more metal than that.”
As if working with Talley wasn’t enough, the band sent the recorded-product to Black Lounge Studios in Sweden, to be mixed and mastered by Scar Symmetry guitarist and ringleader, Jonas Kjellgren. “We had worked with Jonas on our last album, ‘Upon The Warlords Crawl’, and the sound was killer and we received so much great feedback from that release that it was a no brainer to go back to him. ‘Worship The Bled’ was definitely a much heavier album as far as the songs went and it was definitely a lot more brutal so it had to show in the overall sound. We spoke to Jonas and told him where we were heading as far as the TC sound was concerned and our only stipulation was that it had to sound better and heavier than ‘Warlords’ – which we think it does.”
“Jonas is great to work with and is a fan of the same music we are, so getting your ideas across is easy. Once you get over sending your tracks to the other side of the earth and not being there during the mixing process and doing everything over the internet it’s fine, [it] saves you a lot of time sitting on your arse staring at a computer monitor for 12 hours a day pretending you know what is going on. We would definitely use Jonas again as he now knows our sound and style perfectly and has been a great supporter of the band on a professional and friend basis.”
Of the delay between the album being recorded and its release, North goes on, “…We had to work around Jonas’ schedule, we had received a couple of mixes and they were great but it just needed that little tweak here and there to ensure it was better than ‘Warlords’, Jonas had a tour with Scar Symmetry so our mix had to wait a few weeks. Once we got it back (late 2010) we weighed up our options and seeing as we had just planned a full Australian and Japanese tour with French band Hypno5e in March / April 2012 it worked out well to put the album out a few weeks before that started and to make that the first tour for the release, also giving us plenty of time to promote it and create merch, etc.”
“…to play a few of the metal festivals in Europe, it would be so killer to play in front of 70,000 metal heads.”
How the songs sound live is a key element for any metal band, and it would appear TC have no problems there. “On the live front the songs [from ‘Worship The Bled’] have been going down huge, and the tour offers for Europe, Asia etc. are rolling in as well, which is killer.”
“Hopefully we will get back to Asia late 2012 we always have a great time there and have been lucky to meet some amazing people, but now our main focus is to get over to Europe early next year for a full tour and then once that’s done try and get back there in mid 2012 to play a few of the metal festivals in Europe, it would be so killer to play in front of 70,000 metal heads.”
Aussie fans of the band will get more chances of seeing them in the near future. “We have done 2 tours of Australia for ‘Worship The Bled’ and at the moment our plan is to just focus on a few home-town shows and then get over to Europe. If time permits we will try and squeeze in a few shows in Melbourne or Brisbane before we go, but once we come back then it’s definitely time to do more shows around Australia.”
The live shows are the main source of income for any metal band – not so much for the gate receipts, but for the sale of merchandise (you can’t illegally download a shirt!). Truth Corroded are no exception. North and the band have resigned themselves to a situation where the members themselves don’t make any money from the band – the hard work, playing music and kind reception from fans is their payment. “For a band like ours there was never any money anyway, everything gets put back into the band, the more our music gets heard the better so the internet can only help us. Sure it has eaten away at a few sales but not to the extent of the big O/S [overseas] bands. As long as people still come to the shows and buy merch that’s the main thing, we are happy to play anywhere we can and if it means we have to sacrifice a few $$$ here and there we will.”
There’s an old saying that goes something like “every good deed is its own reward”. In Truth Corroded’s case, it’s more along the lines of “every good bleed is its own reward”. And if that is true, then may the bleeding continue.
Truth Corroded is:
Mark Lennard – guitar
Greg Shaw – bass
Jason North – vocals
Darren McLennan – lead guitar
Luke Peak – drums
The 2nd announcement was made recently for next year’s Soundwave Festival – and it’s shaping up to be the most metal Soundwave yet, and without a doubt, one of the biggest and best collections of metal bands ever assembled in Australia! And there’s sure to be more to come, with the third and final line-up announcement still to come!
Take a look at the metal bands on the line-up so far:
Machine Head (USA)
Lamb Of God (USA)
Devin Townsend Project (CAN)
Coal Chamber (USA)
Dillinger Escape Plan (USA)
Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society (USA)
Steel Panther (USA)
Shadows Fall (USA)
Heaven Shall Burn (GER)
Times Of Grace (USA)
Add that to the rest of the lineup - System Of A Down, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, A Day To Remember, Bad Religion, Alter Bridge, Lostprophets, Staind, Angels & Airwaves, Cobra Starship, The Used, Wednesday 13, You Me At Six, Unwritten Law, Strung Out, Dashboard Confessional, Thursday, Raised Fist, Underoath, Saves The Day, Circa Survive, The Pretty Reckless, Tonight Alive, Jack’s Mannequin, Zebrahead, Enter Shikari, Sisters Of Mercy, Four Year Strong, Black Veil Brides, Madina Lake, Forever The Sickest Kids, Motionless In White, Break Even, CKY, Street Dogs, Kvelertak, Letlive, Your Demise, A Rocket To The Moon, The Ready Set, The Mezingers, Dream On Dreamer, Attack! Attack! (UK), Dredg, The Smoking Hearts, The Summer Set, The Cab, Relient K, Versa Emerge, Heroes For Hire, Kill Hannah, The Dangerous Summer, Royal Republic, Framing Hanley, I Am The Avalanche and River City Extension.
Ticket details are as follows:
BRISBANE: Saturday, February 25 – RNA Showgrounds
SYDNEY: Sunday, February 26 – Sydney Showgrounds
MELBOURNE: Friday, March 2 – RAS Showgrounds (SOLD OUT)
ADELAIDE: Saturday, March 3 – Bonython Park
PERTH: Monday, March 5 – Claremont Showgrounds
While he might paint himself as ‘The Angry Fijian’, Lee Gardiner seemed more like ‘The Anxious Fijian’ when he spoke to us recently. Gardiner (or ‘Liggy’ as he also refers to himself as), vocalist for Adelaide metallers Double Dragon, opened up on such topics as varied as his upbringing, his stance on downloading music, and an album with references to Gods and wolves.
“…It’s fucking music dude, let’s just get this shit on iPods so our people can start singing along live.” Gardiner is clearly anxious to have people not only be able to hear and critique their upcoming album, ‘Sons of Asena’, but for them to able to have them get into the music and have them scream, chant and headbang along. Even if it’s at the personal expense of the band.
“…with Double Dragon, we’re a band, not a brand or a business, the more people that can hear us the better, that’s the whole point right? If we make a killler album, people will pass it on…”
‘Sons of Asena’ will be released this December, but rather than the time-honoured tradition of a working-class band getting CD’s printed to sell at shows, the band will be giving away the album for free, via download, this December. Gardiner explains the reasoning behind the decision: “Not getting a [state] government [arts] grant. So basically, we just thought, ‘ya know what? Fuck it, we’ll just give it away’, people are gonna take it anyway so why not encourage and maximize our listeners. We are confident that our music stands up, so lets try and edge and advantage and make our shit free as air.”
Not all of the band members were initially on the same page though. “It came down to a phone call that was something like ‘look boys, we can put this out, and fork out another $15,000 dollars, and we will be touring for the two years trying to cover the cost and sell CD’s to a market that don’t buy CD’s anymore. Or, we can just this time, abandon the physical release, have faith in our music, and try and spread it like wild fire’. ‘Roady’ [Matthew Johnston, rhythm guitarist] told me he wanted a physical copy, for his collection; my answer was ‘make one dude, if you want to make thousands of ‘em, go for it, or if you want to shop them, go for it.”
“Not getting the grant was a game-changer for sure, but ya know what, I’m glad we didn’t for this album, my heart and soul is in this music, it wasn’t made for profit, it was made for people to rock out to, and knowing that before the end of the year, the Double Dragon people can just take this one, makes me happy as an artist.”
“Yeah we put our eggs in one basket [regarding the government grant], but we felt we had a strong enough case to get some funding. The metal gods did not agree, which meant we had to cancel sending this over to AudioHammer [Studios, in Florida] for a mix with Eyal Levi [of Dååth, also engineered/mixed albums for such bands as August Burns Red, The Black Dahlia Murder and Job For A Cowboy] and [Jason] Suecof [worked with Trivium, Chimaira, All That Remains, Devildriver and many others], which was a fucking low blow man, considering we were already thousands down, and that was mainly due to travel costs from tours in the last twelve months.”
“…As fate had it, one my best mates now works at Sing Sing Studios [inMelbourne], and they really threw us a huge life line with the mix. So now our album goes away next week to Sing Sing and will be mixed at one of the finest studios in the Southern Hemisphere and we honestly couldn’t be happier, and we are fucking itching to finally hear this thing finished.”
“The internet has given my band, Double Dragon, a whole lot of exposure that we gained purely by working our asses off, and believing in our music. When we released our first album Devastator, we had it out in stores, spent a lot of money on label costs etc, and ya know we had a nice shiny CD cover that made us feel special, but the day we let www.metalsucks.net put our torrent out, we had about 10gigs worth uploads in a few weeks. That’s a shit load of albums, who knows if people kept them or not, but with Double Dragon, we’re a band, not a brand or a business, the more people that can hear us the better, that’s the whole point right? If we make a killer album, people will pass it on, just like I do if there is something I like, so I’m hoping that is what happens with our next album.”
“…this was what I needed to confront some of my demons head on. The last line of the album is ‘There’s no turning back…’, and once I delivered that one in the studio, for the first time in my life, I knew my past was behind me.”
That next album Gardiner references is, as previously mentioned, titled ‘Sons of Asena’. The lyric-writing process for it was clearly cathartic for the frontman, and served as a large stepping-stone in his personal life. “…definitely a concept album… essentially it’s a story about adoption from many points of views – riddled with metaphors of Gods and wolves. Let’s say, Asena is ‘The Mother’ and the ‘Sons’ are the different ways I have felt about being adopted, from [ages] 18 to 30. From being so confused about it in my teen years, being angry about later on, the ways I have dealt with it, to finally accepting my adopted family as my own and understanding how incredibly lucky I have been. This album really has been a godsend for me – even if it never came out at all, it wouldn’t have mattered to me personally – this was what I needed, to confront some of my demons head on. The last line of the album is ‘There’s no turning back…’ and once I delivered that one in the studio, for the first time in my life, I knew my past was behind me.”
Musically, ‘Sons of Asena’ is also a change in direction for the band, in terms of how they approached the song-writing process. “It sounds nothing at all like our previous releases, and when I mean nothing it all, I mean we sound like a different band altogether. We have had some years go by between releases, and this time around, I wrote a lot of the music with Davin [Buttery, lead guitarist]. In the past, most of the songs had come from our rhythm guitarist, ‘Roady’. ‘Roady’ and I like completely different music, so straight away we were writing with a different point of view, and my main goal (which I think we achieved) was to create some ‘moods’ in the music, instead of the usual twin-guitar riff, melodic-type stuff we used to play, now we have some different atmospheres and tones, I guess this album is Double Dragon through my eyes, as opposed to Roady’s.”
“The final track of ‘Sons of Asena’ (‘Asena’) was the first song we wrote all together with the new line-up, and I’m thinking that is where our sound is headed, a little… grittier with the riffs revolving around Liam’s [Weedall, drummer] freakish abilities on the drums. If ‘Devastator’ had a sticker saying ‘for fans of melodic metal’, then this one would say ‘for fans of Pantera, Metallica, Slayer, The Haunted and Down’. Whether we achieved that sound remains to be seen, but that’s what we were going for, for sure.”
Gardiner has another avenue of artistic expression, his side project Canitra. Far from being a Double Dragon-soundalike, Canitra is a far more poetic, laid-back side to the singer. “I’ve always, been a huge fan of that style of music [referring to the lounge/jazz stylings of Mike Patton], whatever it is. One of the guys in Canitra – Matt Saggs, is someone I have known since I was in high school, and before I was in Double Dragon, we used to write Canitra sounding songs all the time… it’s nice to kind of pick up where we left off. I guess everyone who knows me knows I love Faith No More / [Mr.] Bungle / [Mike] Patton stuff, so yeah it’s heavily influenced by that, but it’s also influenced by two Brisbane singer/song-writers I adore, Emma Dean and Kate Miller-Heidke. They are brilliant, absolutely fucking brilliant artists that have inspired me to the point I had to pick up the phone and go ‘Oi ‘Saggsy’ ya cunt, it’s time to make some music again’. I’ve been playing metal for so long in Australia now, Canitra is awesome, and new and fresh to me and I’m really looking forward to doing some live shows this summer. [Canitra] might even drop in the Double Dragon ballads seeing we never play them live.”
Even though ‘Sons of Asena’ is yet to be released, the band clearly have aspirations beyond that. “For the next album, I really don’t want to write music, just concentrate on the vocals, but I’m hoping the next stuff is another interpretation of Double Dragon combining the ‘Devastator’ type stuff, with my stuff, with some added flavours from our two newest members, ‘Joshy’ [Josh Lamont, bassist] and Liam.”
“The only band we haven’t played [with] that I want to support is Faith No More. We’ve been ‘kissed on the dick’ when it comes to supporting killer international bands, and from touring around the country opening for bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Chimaira [and] The Haunted, really I’m keen to have a crack at being the headline band. If we get an offer to open for a great band, we will jump all over it, but I’m sick of being the warm-up. I want to play our full set to those crowds. Fuck knows how we are going to do it, but I’d say us playing overseas would definitely raise our profile. We are talking with some people now about doing that next year, and the thought of Double Dragon, representing Aussie metal overseas, holy shit we will grab that horn with both hands and well and truly fuck shit up. Fingers crossed hey, it’s a personal dream of mine, so much so that I refuse to go overseas without Double Dragon with me, I will wait ‘til I’m 70 if I have to, we are going to do it.”
“I think we are heading to Sydney before Christmas, we’re also pretty honoured to be playing with our mates ISAW, who are releasing their new CD… then in December we will launch ‘the CD that doesn’t exist’ with our dear mates Lynchmada, who are touring their album… We will look to get to Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane in the Aussie summer.”
Metallica once urged people to “seek the wolf in thy self”… clearly, Gardiner has been listening.
Double Dragon is:
Lee “Liggy” Gardiner – vocals
Matthew “Roady”Johnston– rhythm guitar
Davin Buttery – lead guitar
Liam “Tico” Weedall – drums
Josh Lamont – bass