Hey my Darling Beauties - y'all I'm going to get right to it, with no bullshit attached. No long explanations of how Amranthe landed on my desk or how this group's (as well as everyone I have worked with the last two weeks) puzzle piece just slid into place - perfectly matching the boarders of the other bands around them. Nope - not going to do that. Honestly, there really isn't a need for it. Why - well just take a peek of the band pic at the top and I think your question will be answered relatively easily. No? Not so easy? K, I'll open the door to my brain since you can't read my mind (or can you??). This sextet is the Swedish mega-metal band Amaranthe.
So without getting into a huge discussion about genres and where these super musicians fit in - I'm gonna tell you; they don't fit in a main genre of rock. And I think for just a minute after you hear them that you'll agree that there isn't a place for these stellar musicians to fit necessarily. That is not a bad thing either...it's actually better that they don't fit into the system of categorizing music that has been used and abused for years. I mean, it's my opinion that bands and genres have a relationship like fish and a chain link fence: the chain link will only hold the big huge fish out of the nets - the medium size and small size just zip right through those links because that fence isn't designed to keep all of the fish in the genre pool. We've been segmenting or trying to figure how to stack all of the music created far too long.
Now, I say that Amaranthe is like ABBA on steroids. And if you listen to the whole record or even a song, you'll get that. I mean, they are one of Elize's favorite influences...so it's not far off the mark. Despite that - all hail ABBA for then and what they've brought out from their journey, ya know?
Drops: October 21, 2016
Label: Spinefarm Records
Produced by: Jacob Hansen
Mixed by: Svante Forsback
🍒🍒🍒🍒 53/60 Cherries🍒🍒🍒🍒
Maximize - Twinkling synths, power chords, guitar solos, crisscrossing growls and super clear vocals. Totally on a carpet ride through this song, the elements that make Amaranthe who they are, makes them the genie that brings the listener out of the bottle.
Boomarang - Loving the unsung force that happens within this song. Don't we all feel like we're bouncing off the same shit, just different day? I can totally relate to this feeling that is personified in "Boomerang" both lyrically and within the energy behind the melody. Pristine vocals from Elize and Jake; both kill on this song.
That Song - So I wanna have this as my anthem - oh hell, who am I kidding? This is my anthem, bitches! Everyone knocks you down, tries to destroy your dreams - but just as you're about to give up...here comes "That Song" - the beat, the lyrics, the whole fucking feel that motivates you and literally pulls you off the couch with a can of whoop ass to your ears - and here you are - back on the track...all while you have that beat in the back of your head while you defy the odds like a boss...
21 - Can Elize have a bad vocal?? Nope - she can't. While "21" is not my favorite song or IMHO, one of the strongest on this record, she just slams your eardrums full on, people. And damnit the guitars do not suck either frieds!! I love the screams too that echo the invitation...let's party, let's rock - this is what I mean when I say that Amaranthe is the modern ABBA - fo' shizzle.
On the Rocks - Bitches!!! This tempo - is fun, frisky and fucking rock dowsed with Swedish musical magic. Despite the "drop it like it's hot" reference this song makes me happy. I dig the harmonies and the duped vocals - shut up!! It just makes me wanna boogie. Some heavy undertones of pure metal make me love that our predessors have given some amazing influence to artists of today.
Limitless - Ok, y'all need to pay attention to this song; adjust your hearing aides, turn up the volume - whatever or however: Elize and Jake are literally telling mankind how to love, how to be with another human. Not to mention that the melody fuzed with the sizzle of the guitars is brilliantly placed inside and outside of beats. There are no limits on how and where this song can take us...
*Fury - I immediately wanna start banging my head as I'm jumping, flailing and dancing to this song. I love the mirroring that Elize has with Hedrick's screams. It's so strange that these two are opposites but that work so freakin' well together. The stop-starts in the production give this song a depth that makes it one of my favorite on the record.
Faster - The plinks of the guitar start "Faster" and peak my interest...there is a ton that I love in this recipie...but I think it is where I can see this song land - that makes it so interesting to me. Again, I literally have the sensation of wind blowing my hair back as this song plays.
Break Down & Cry - I wish I could really tell the differences between a synthesizer and a guitar effect, on a technical note. My god friends - to hear these two singing together is kinda sureal - they're so in tune with the other's vocal tone; kinda like a cloned male/female voice...if that makes sense? K, listen to the downbeat of the chorus - J.H.C. - seriously?? Then you add in the unsung pieces and this is amazeballz.
Supersonic - My love of a power chord and vocal trills and runs is taken to a whole new level in "Supersonic". I can't take the fact that there's this overwhelming throat-punch of progression that just breaks me!!
Fireball - What can you say about tech/industrial elements that are flung out like balls from an automatic pitching machine - only everytime they connect with the listener's bat? I personally can't say jack because this song greets me with a ton of homeruns from my little practice cage - but I'm sure it will with fans, old and new.
Endlessly - As appropriate as it is, the last track on the record is titled "Endlessly" and it does nothing to end wanting more from this band. This vocal sits upon an orchestral palet that joins up with the rock foundation that Elize comes from. Y'all - this girl is nothing short of miraculous and I'm going to go out on a limb by saying she is the voice of 2016. She is the Whitney, Celine, Christina, Beyonce, and any other stellar female voice from ANY genre or era; she can produce. Period. Take this track back and listen very carefully: I've got to say her voice is as close to perfection as you can get.
As I've said - Amaranthe is quite the powerhouse and with their upcoming new record, new tour dates - they'll be household names before the end of the year, for sure. Gaining some speed domestically will not be too hard and you can say that you heard about them right here my pretties, right here.
|Elize - Vocals||JJake - Vocals||Henrik - Screams||Olog - Guitars/Keys||Johan - Bass||Morten - Drums|
Connect with the band:
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
Photos by: Jay Beadnell
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
Photos by: Jay Beadnell
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
Photos by: Jay Beadnell
Red Hat Amphitheater
Photos by: Jay Beadnell
Red Hat Amphitheater
Photos by: Jay Beadnell
Athanasia Releases "Spoils Of War" Official Music Video From Upcoming 'The Order Of The Silver Compass' LP
Metal group Athanasia have released an official music video for their track "Spoils Of War" off of their upcoming album The Order of the Silver Compass. The music video originally premiered on Revolver Magazine. "Spoils Of War" was directed by Matt Zane and shot in Burbank, California.
"I am beyond excited to unveil ATHANASIA's first single "Spoils of War" and give the public a small taste of what they can expect to hear on our upcoming LP "The Order of the Silver Compass"! - Caleb Andrew Bingham (Athanasia)
EX- 5FDP GUITARIST AND CURRENT MURDER FM DRUMMER FORM NEW BAND "ATHANASIA"
Arena metal trio ATHANASIA has formed out of the ashes of ex-FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH guitarist Caleb Andrew Bingham's long time project ASCENSION.
ATHANASIA features Bingham on guitar/vocals, ASCENSION bassist Brandon Miller and MURDER FM and ex-MURDERDOLLS/WEDNESDAY 13 drummer Jason West.
Listeners can expect a unique hybrid of classic and modern heavy metal from the band's upcoming video/single release entitled "Spoils of War" due out October 13th.
Pssst...Your Soul's Draggin' the Ground...
Better Pick it Up & Give it a Good Shake
(The Soul Shakers are here to do just that.)
Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “there is greatness in this person”? Or heard talent that was unmistakably destined for said greatness? I have experienced this phenomenon once before so when I felt that little twinge that started at the base of my spine and creeped up slowly to my brain as I listened to the single "Here to Have a Good Time" by The Soul Shakers - I immediately recognized and honed in on it.
“Here to Have a Good Time” flew into my airspace a couple of weeks ago. I was watching the YouTube vid intensely and that twinge I referred to above; came about mid-song. Watching these two guys seemingly flicked into our era straight outta the late 70's; literally fall into the characters of themselves on the mini screen. Now without feeling forced or contrived, the music, the story, the flared jeans, long hair and a strut that Travolta would be envious of now, The Soul Shakers video really left me feeling like I’d somehow popped into a brief moment of their lives and became that fly on the wall.
Knowing that you know something just by the Universe dropping you hints; telling you so, doesn’t happen very frequently - at least not to me. Not to mention the fact that I don’t believe in coincidences and I don’t believe that things just randomly happen; like things aren't just scattered around and we just happen to bounce into things of relevance. I feel there is a reason for every encounter.
Elias Reidy (guitars) and Brett Hellings (vocals/guitars) would probably agree because they weren’t placed together by anything other than coincidence; which as stated above - wasn’t. The two met in front of a club in L.A. and from that meeting they started carving out what eventually became The Soul Shakers. “We just instantly connected and were able to completely get right to it,” Elias said after I asked about how it all started. Brett chimed in, “Ya, it was really not forced at all. We both had the same like, goals or vision of what we wanted to do musically and it just clicked. We just clicked.”
I could instantly hear in the two men’s voices as we talked, they are the real McCoy's, the Real Deal; the zeal and passion they have for not only the music they’re creating, but for life around them.
See, Elias (formerly of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus) didn’t need to rush into a damn thing. “Look, when most dudes were in school, I was touring the world with the band (Red Jumpsuit Apparatus) so this project didn’t have to be a rush for me,” Elias explained. Unlike a comeback as some might perceive; Elias just wanted to play music. And in doing so he would just continue what he has been great at for the majority of his life. “I kind of rebelled because I didn’t have a great time in school. Ya know, I was really out of sorts most of the time and felt like an outsider around people. So when I connected with music, and went on tour, I was like ‘see ya’!! Being on tour helped me to get out of myself and out of school, so I was all about that.”
Now this was back in 2014 when they met and started working on getting songs down, mind you. This wasn’t some fly by night, silly craft to make a million or pass the time. So they just set out and started writing the record and after about 2 years, producer Dan Malcsh (Motionless in White, Tantric, Framing Hanley) hooked up with the dynamic duo to record and place in history the way their puzzle is supposed to fit together and lock into everyone else's.
It’s strange to think that listening to the band, you’d be able to hear their influences pop out at you. At first, “Here to Have a Good Time” sounds like an active rock song but as your foot starts tapping and Brett’s vocals cut in, you start to realize there’s something acutely familiar with this sound because it stirs your insides, ya know? I kinda equate it to having a favorite song that you haven’t heard in 100 years and then hearing it and loving it just the same as you did then. Only obviously, this isn’t an old song - and the feeling isn't coming from an old memory; it's coming from a response deep inside of you that can only be described by me as, an emotional pull based on a need. Yes, a need my Pretties...
So with this newly stirred up need, I had to know where both of their influences came from. Who or what caused them to have this change - this decision to travel down the Musician Lane. Here's what they said:
Brett: “I was 14 or so and my older brother took me to the Stone Temple Pilots concert. It was my first concert at that and there was all these people all together, they were freaking smiling, drinking beer, laughing, I smelled pot and stuff and I was like, ‘woah this is awesome’. But everyone was really having a good time. They were happy and I wanted some of that. When STP came on, and I saw Scott (Weiland) up there doing his thing, and like commanding the crowd. I instantly knew that is what I wanted to be when I grew up! I wanted to make people happy just like that, like he did.”
Elias: “Mine wasn’t quite like that. I didn’t like see anyone and just know. I got my first guitar and started playing around with it. You know, I didn’t quite have the best childhood or it wasn’t very fun, I guess. So I was somewhat rebellious. I loved all kinds of music though and I knew that if I could play music, there might be a way or a chance to get out of my hometown. So I started playing harder. Like I said, I was on tour by 15 and lived on the road. Man, I was just ready to get out of that town.”
We talked a little about Prince, David Bowie, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and others. Like how torturous it might have been for Janis but that her music made people happy or feel something and that became her release. And that emotion behind her outlived her and she is still making people happy to this day. We mentioned that Rock had lost some incredible talents this year; Prince, Bowie, etc. You talk to these two for just a brief amount of time and they can pull the positive energy from anything and they do it with a smile on their faces; especially since they’re talking about music.
Elias and Brett build off of each other’s differences with their similarities. Elias seems to enjoy the freedoms in creativity with The Soul Shakers because it is just him and Brett calling the shots; no additional band members, just hired guns (and damn good ones at that). Brett seems to build off Elias’ past lives in music. And they’re both gravitating to greatness with a genuine air of gratitude and humble reserve that really sets them apart. Know what? These characteristics is what makes them do what they want to do to spread the love to their fans making them happy! Y’all, those smiles in the “Here to Have a Good Time” video are real, I tell ya. That kinda love is as infectious like the plague, my friends!! #ForRealz
Let’s be honest guys, there isn’t much left in the world today that can accentuate or that can magnify someone’s desire to just make people happy externally. And try as we may, it's hard to dig that outta our insides when everything around us; TV shows, in our Social Media feeds, all the memes and such that are feeding negativity on one hand and on the other, commanding us to just "be happy"...ya, being happy in a world that almost everything around us is radiating unhappiness or negativity is such a paradox.
Ever see the movie “Clash of the Titans”? You know when that metal figure of Perseus is placed in the arena by Zeus’ hand? I kinda think, in some whacked out, mythological way (enter the tiny model of Stonehenge, dropped down from the rafters on our stage of life), and that is where The Soul Shakers have been placed...right in the middle of 2016’s dusty arena where everything is so seriously fast, so intense and emotional that we have forgotten how to have a good time, ya know? Bloop, enter Elias and Brett by Zeus' hand - right there in that arena...see em?
I think that familiarity in the first few measures of “Here to Have a Good Time” is just that; a commonality that we are given life, only for a beat. Life is short, right? As we live it, what we can relate to is the innate need for some element of footloose and fancy freedom to return to us. If we could just for a minute illuminate the thought that every move we make, isn’t because our moral compass is broken or that we need it to be tracked or improved upon. Or where everything we do or say has to be "right", that the mistakes we will make aren’t cause for us to sew giant red letter “As” (for asshole) on the front of our shirts. We make mistakes so that we can admit the error, do what we can to right it, learn from it and move on. (*And trust me Lovelies, what I just learned from an error I won't be forgetting for a LONG time! Ha! *See my note below.) Just maybe we can get back to being humans again with just a little reminder that:
we’re here to have a good time...
forget about your love life...
a good time is all I need...”.
Brett told me, “I know it sounds odd but, man I want to be just like Scott from STP and put smiles on everyone. In the place. I want everyone to just be happy and know that there’s something that can, if just for a bit, turn up your smile,” I threw in “ya, and shake up your soul maybe, huh?”
Connect with The Soul Shakers
*Note from Cherri: My sincere apologies for some of the content errors of this article as it was published this morning. I crossed Elias and Brett's wires with their responses from our discussion. It was late when I was editing and until it was brought to my attention - I didn't catch and correct it until this afternoon. Guys, I'm totes sorry and please don't let this interfere with y'all calling me for the Grammy's, kthanksbye!
"Here to Have a Good Time" - The Soul Shakers
Rockers! It's Cherri Pickin' time! You know, I just did a review last week but Monday comes around and bling, bling, bling, goes the bell on my Inbox with all the press from over the weekend. Normally...I kinda snooze these until Tuesday afternoon...but I guess today isn't a "normal" day because totally didn't do that. The Universe made me click the stream and I had to share Ashes of My Regrets with y'all!
These guys are outta New Jersey and bring some fresh-fresh back to the metalcore laundry basket. Now, I'm not saying that current bands in this arena stink like dirty socks - no, no no sillies!! I'm just saying that it's good to see a group of five talented dudes hit it hard and bring something with them, ya know? Here's the analogy: It's kinda like when there's a new scent of fabric softener on the market...we all know it's fabric softener, it does the same thing; soften your clothes and make 'em smell purty - but it's that new scent that sells it, right? You buy it because it's new, fresh and while it accomplishes the same thing, it just might smell a little better than the old one you've used forever and a day, maybe. Ashes of My Regrets with their new EP Caricatures has that ability to become metalcore's favorite new scent, Pretties. Truly.
I've listened, doled out the cherries (1 - 5) and given you a little description of the songs. For those of you that are new to my reviews, the word in quotes is a word pulled from the lyric - one that sticks out to me when I'm listening. I don't know why I do this - I think it just helps me to identify as I personally relate to the song. Caricatures is available November 4th and you can pre-order it from iTunes or the band's website (all links below, all for you). Until then, you can gaze upon the video "Daydreams" while you wait for the drop...I've even linked you - you're welcome!
🍒🍒🍒🍒Total Cherries: 26/30 🍒🍒🍒🍒
Caricatures - Murmurs of thoughts, a tormented mind, Chris whispers, "what does he have that I didn't" - some of the other words flying around this brief montage of scratching sounds, fuzz and fleeting bites of emotions. I love the oddity of this track because while it's not a song, per se, it intros the EP and it's also kind of a song of thoughts, or what we would hear if we put a tiny mic inside someone's head for just a minute.
Daydreams - The paradox of daydreaming versus what subconsciously lies beneath those thoughts comes out screaming in the track "Daydreams". I dig the auto-pilot feeling behind the screams in the chorus from Chris, and almost gives a cushion for what surprised the hell out of me. He breathes a sweet sounding, pretty melody in chorus that bounces right off the screams. Big fills from waves to pops come from Juan on drums keep that melodic and stoic beat true to the guitars and bass. If the energy of a daydream could be translated into sound, I bet this would be pretty spot on close. The tinkling, repetitive notes coming from what sounds like an old piano expresses this interpretation perfectly.
ACL Live at the Moody Theater
Photos by: Slim Jim Keller