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Greg Puciato from The Dillinger Escape Plan Talks Crazy Shows & Crazier Poop!

Yes, you read that headline correctly. As the vocalist for (in)famous extreme metal band The Dillinger Escape Plan, Greg Puciato has seen some shit. Literally. In this exclusive interview, Greg mentions a hilariously disgusting event that will go down in UK history. Have I piqued your curiosity? Read below to satisfy those dire questions that I just know you have.

From what I’ve seen, your newest album has been garnering rave reviews from critics and fans alike. How does it feel to know that something you’ve spent so much time and effort on has been widely praised?

It feels good. I actually haven’t read any of them, I know it’s been positive across the board but I try not to read any of them. I mean, we already recorded it, so we wouldn’t have put it out if we didn’t think it was good. We can’t change anything about it now, so I don’t want to hear why someone thinks it sucks, and I don’t want to hear why someone thinks it good either. It just makes you too self aware. It corrupts you artistically. Obviously, though, someone else liking what we do is a good thing. It always startles me, because we make music for selfish motivations. So when you put it out and other people are able to relate to it, it’s pretty gratifying.

What are those selfish motivations you mentioned?

Obviously artistic people have issues, otherwise they wouldn’t be making art. So the fact that we’re in our thirties and we’re choosing to do something that’s not really commercially motivated is probably the reason why none of us go to therapy *laughs*. We use this to work things through in our lives and because we feel like we have something to get out of ourselves, and the fact that people buy it or show up to see us create it is a huge plus.

“We had to petition to be allowed back inside the UK because apparently we broke some sort of public indecency law sixty thousand times over. They told us, ‘It’s illegal to shit in public in front of one person, and you did it in front of sixty thousand people.’”

I understand that MetalSucks recently voted you as their #1 front man. What was your reaction to that?

It’s a huge honor. I don’t really think about that stuff too much, because once you start becoming too self aware you believe that you have to fulfill certain things. However, from an objective standpoint, I don’t think there’s anyone in my generation out there that’s doing what we’re doing as a band. So I do feel that we’re collectively at the top of our games, and I don’t really think we have any competition at being The Dillinger Escape Plan, but for someone to say that I’m the best current modern front man is crazy. Like I said, I don’t really listen to a lot of this kind of music to know the type of people who I would be “competing” against. I don’t really think of music as a sport, but I get that it’s fun to make lists. I saw the list though, and it’s weird to quantify art and to try to say something like, “This is the BEST director.” But maybe there’s people who do different things? Obviously Stanley Kubrick is really good at making a certain kind of movie, but maybe Judd Apatow is better at making silly romantic comedies. So it’s hard to say that, but I really do appreciate it.

I know you were voted #1 mainly for your insane live performances. Where do you find this kind of crazy energy for every single show? Starting out, what made you decide to do these kinds of stunts?

Really, it’s because I’m a crazy person. *laughs* Honestly, once we start playing, our music is very energetic and very cathartic, and you kind of instinctively become a physical embodiment of that. The day it becomes theatre, I don’t want to do it anymore. There’s never a moment where I say to myself, “Oh I’m gonna climb on this thing or jump on this thing”, and a lot of the time I don’t even know that it happened until afterward when someone shows me a YouTube video or something. Usually I’m very calmed down by then and when I see the video it looks really dangerous, and I’ll say, “That’s crazy, did I really do that? That’s not safe!” I wouldn’t do that stuff if I was just walking around during the day, but when you’re playing you kind of get out of your head. You’re in a different place completely and you don’t really think about that stuff, which is the way it should be. The second I start thinking about something, I don’t do it. I don’t want to corrupt the process.

Greg bloodied at the Golden Gods Award Show.

Greg bloodied and bruised, but not broken, at the Golden Gods Awards Show.

I watched your performance at the Golden Gods Awards show, and while I thought you guys put on a fucking awesome show, I was disappointed at the crowds enthusiasm. How did you feel about that?

Well, we knew that was gonna be the case. When they released tickets to the public, the people that bought them up instantly were Metallica fans. At that point, we had two choices. We could either meet those people halfway and play catchier songs and tone down our performance, or we could recognize that in those three of four minutes we have the opportunity to show those people shit that they would never ever see in their entire lives. Those people are used to seeing bands like Disturbed and Metallica and Godsmack and, in general, active rock bands that play radio rock. If those people have never seen anything like us, even remotely, then why not play that angle and go in the complete opposite direction and make them look at you like you have thirty fucking heads. We’re not trying to win over a room full of fourty year olds. We were aware that the point would be to be the oddball at the show by a landslide.

I’m excited as fuck for this years Summer Slaughter, but I’ve been seeing a lot of other perspectives, with fans exclaiming how this years tour isn’t extreme anymore. What’s your take on it?

I know that festival has a history of being more of a death metal tour, so I think the criticism is directed at us not being a death metal band, and I think this might be the first year that it’s not primarily death metal oriented. I think it’s a smart move on the promoter’s end though, because if they cater to their audience, then they’re going to be pigeonholed forever, and that’s been our thing too. We never want to give people exactly what they’d expect from us. People might bitch about it on the internet, but they’re going to respect the tour more for doing what it wants to do. It’s not like the rooms aren’t going to be full, they have us and Animals as Leaders headlining. The rooms are going to be packed. If people bitch about it and they don’t want to come, they don’t have to come. But if they bitch about it and they do come and they see us live and they still say that we’re not extreme, then they’re just lying to themselves. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter to me.

What would you say was the craziest show you ever performed at?

It’s crazy because we’ve played so many shows, literally over two thousand shows. It’s so much easier to remember albums and the recording processes because there’s less of them, but shows…Even in the last 30 days we’ve played 27 shows, so a lot of the time I’ll forget them until someone reminds me, but there are still some things that when they happen you’re like, “Whoa that was fucking crazy!” There was a show in Los Angeles at the House of Blues where it basically became a riot and security guards were everywhere and six police cars came. People were throwing shit around, someone got hit with a chair, and it was one of the only times where I was like, “Okay, this is out of control now.” Then there was a show in Virginia where our guitarist’s guitar got stolen off the stage, my foot got ran over by a car when I ran out in the parking lot to try to get it back, and a guy from Cattle Decapitation threw a hammer at the car and smashed out the back windshield. There’s been some stuff that has happened that’s been out of our control, and those are the ones I kind of remember the most. The shit that people talk about, like running on people’s heads, I don’t actually remember those things happening. The crazy stuff is the stuff where you’re on stage and you say to yourself, “Whoa this is getting out of hand” and you become a spectator of the environment instead of them being a spectator of you.

When I was doing research to write the questions for the interview, one of the things I read about was your performance at the Reading Festival in the UK back in 2002.

You’re gonna ask about the throwing shit thing.

You got me!

Haha, well again it was kind of like the Golden Gods situation where we were playing with a bunch of radio rock bands. We played first on the main stage, at about noon. At those types of festivals, a lot of people sleep in tents at the festival itself, and they’ll start meandering around at noon not really paying attention, so we were wondering what we could do to separate ourselves from the rest of these bands that are playing, because we have absolutely nothing in common with Puddle of Mudd and stuff like that. So all these weird radio rock bands are playing, and we’re going to play in front of all those fans. We were gonna be a spectacle anyway, so lets just take it as far as we can. You know, you see people like GG Allin who do all this gnarly shit, but they do it in front of twenty people in a basement. I want people to see stuff en masse that they’ve never seen before, and metal and rock is all about theatrics. If there’s fire on stage, it’s contained, it was planned, it explodes a certain way, and there’s not much risk. If there’s blood, it’s fake blood. If Gwar is shooting feces at the crowd, it’s actually chocolate milk. For someone to see shit being wiped over a person and thrown out into a crowd, or to see you on TV bleeding from the face shooting fire that isn’t contained, that jars people. It takes them out of their comfort zone, and that’s what we wanted to do, and it worked, because it was unheard of and we almost got banned from the UK. We had to petition to be allowed back inside the UK because apparently we broke some sort of public indecency law sixty thousand times over. They told us, “It’s illegal to shit in public in front of one person, and you did it in front of sixty thousand people.” *laughs* We actually had to petition to come back, and now it’s following me forever. It’s really interesting, because outside of the music scene, that became a news story over there, and on mainstream newspapers and stuff like that with the headline, “Dude from band that you’ve never heard of does this horrible thing.” So sometimes over there mainstream press that don’t know about The Dillinger Escape Plan will say, “Oh that’s that guy that shit all over his face.” *laughs* That’s just so weird to me that that’s even a thing.

Thankfully, Greg decided to spare San Francisco his fecal matter...this time.

Thankfully, Greg decided to spare San Francisco his fecal matter…this time.

What do you attribute to playing with all these commercial rock bands? You guys are arguably one of the craziest acts out there and yet you’re playing with all these safe rock bands.

The people that are in charge of those things are still awesome at heart. That’s what it is. And they’re still on our team. Whether it’s the guy who runs Golden Gods or the people who run the Reading Festival or all these fests, they know they have to balance a line between selling tickets and appeasing their inner wish of cool shit running the earth. They’re always kind of behind the scenes to us. We’re really lucky to have those kind of people in our corner that are higher up and get us into all these bizarre situations.

Taking it down a notch from shooting fire and smearing feces, now that you’ve finished One of Us is the Killer, what are your plans for the rest of the year and next year?

Well we’ve still got like one hundred and forty shows booked in 2013 so we’re slammed. I actually just looked at my schedule for this year for the first time and it’s pretty nuts. We only have about six weeks off between now and December. So, we’re gonna do this tour, we’re gonna go straight to Orion Fest with Metallica, go to Europe for a few weeks, come back to the states, and do Summer Slaughter. THEN in the month of September I’m going to record a project with Max Cavalera and Troy Sanders from Mastodon as a kind of one-off album. In October and November we go back to Europe and in December we’re looking at possibly going to Australia and Japan, and then probably another headliner in the U.S. in early 2014. By that point hopefully we’ll know what we’re doing for the summer of 2014. As you can tell, once you put a record out, the opportunities to go places and do stuff are endless, and we want to keep doing as much as we can because we won’t be able to do this forever.

Is that collaboration with Max and Troy the one planned back in 2011, and do you mind expanding on it a little bit?

Yeah, it is. We’ve got about twelve songs written and it’s a little thrashier and doomier than my usual stuff. It’s kind of like my homage to more straightforward metal and what I grew up listening to. Max Cavalera and I met each other at a Deftones benefit for Chi Cheng (former bassist for Deftones) a few years ago, and I sang a song for him on a Soulfly record, and we just wrote really quickly together and had a lot of fun, so we toyed around with the idea of writing a whole record together. We would test one another every time we saw each other, asking if we were serious about the project, but after a while we just said fuck it, and started writing some songs. Then we were on tour with Mastodon, and I was telling Troy about it, and he asked who was playing bass. When I told him we didn’t know yet, he said, “I’m playing bass. I’m throwing myself into this. You’re not saying no.” It was at that point when I realized that this could turn into something really cool, because we have three different singers, all writing riffs for this thing. We only want to do one record, I’m not trying to launch another band. It’s something a lot of jazz and hip hop musicians do, where they get together to write something, maybe play a few festivals together, and then be done with it.

You’ve done collaborations with a lot of artists over the years, from Devin Townsend and Prong to Soulfly and Genghis Tron. You seem to really enjoy doing these one-off collaborations.

I love em man. I feel like you grow so much, artistically, when you take yourself out of your comfort zone. I love writing songs with Ben (DEP lead guitarist) and Liam (DEP bassist) and we are definitely growing, but if we didn’t take things from outside influences, we wouldn’t have anything new to bring to the table. You have to grow as an individual and put yourself in crazy life experiences to write crazy music, but you also have to grow musically, and the best way to do that is for someone to throw you a pitch you’re not quite sure how to hit. That’s why I like doing it so much. I wouldn’t have written Dillinger vocals on this record anywhere close to how I wrote them if I wasn’t doing other collaborations on the side.

Greg preparing to take a dive into the welcoming crowd beneath him.

Greg preparing to take a dive into the welcoming crowd beneath him.

When I talked with Misha Mansoor of Periphery a year or two ago, he said that the reason why they write what they write is because of their love for electronic music and the influences that genre has on them, and it seems to be the case for you as well.

Yeah, I think it’s important because if you’re listening to just your peers, you’re going to regurgitate all the same stuff that they’re doing, but I think it’s way more interesting for people to not be able to trace your influences. If you’re listening to some weird underground electronic thing that only a thousand people like, and you bring that into what you’re doing and filter it and put it into Dillinger, people will ask where you come up with that. But if you’re just listening to Converge and Lamb of God and stuff like that, it becomes too incestuous creatively. You’re not making any forward progress.

You guys write a lot of weird time signatures, which is why many dub you as “mathcore.” I’m actually a math major myself, and I’m super into math. Are you guys into that kind of thing as well?

We’re terrible at it. Absolutely terrible. *laughs* We don’t really write thinking about that kind of stuff. Other people tell us what they are. We’ll have people tell us, “You guys are playing in sixteen over seven, that’s crazy!” I’ve never once in my head counted Dillinger time signatures. In four albums over twelve years, I could not tell you off the top of my head what time signature any of our songs are in.

Does that just happen organically?

Yeah, I think we just write very instinctively, and Ben’s brain is really out there too. I know that when he sits down and writes, he’s writing based on feel. To me, the alarming thing is that that’s what that guy writes when he sits down by himself. He’s a crazy person. Normal people sit down and it doesn’t sound like pots and pans falling down steps. When Ben sits down and writes that, the fact that that’s what’s going on in his brain when he picks up a guitar and writes is terrifying.

[Author's note: Ben was in the room chuckling to himself as Greg discussed his lunatic ways]

Is that what you base your range and lyrics on?

Well, he and the rest of the band send me finished songs, and then I try to write as close to recording as possible. That way I have emotional relevance of what I’m screaming about. I mean, if I wrote six months ago, and tried to pick pieces apart and fit them in a song, not only would they not make sense together, I wouldn’t even remember what I was writing about. Or, if I did remember it, I wouldn’t have any emotional connection to it. If I went into the studio to try to scream, which should already be a very intense emotion, you’d be screaming trying to remember what you were pissed or depressed about, which you probably won’t be pissed or depressed about six months down the line, so you have to create a facsimile of it. Then you’re giving someone a copy of your genuine emotion. That sucks, you shouldn’t do that. So I pretty much try to make a mess out of my life close to the recording process, and then write all my lyrics really quickly.

I know you fairly recently took to Twitter and Facebook to rant about religious and political issues. Was that part of the writing process you mentioned?

No, I write pretty much completely autobiographical. The only people who really know what I’m writing about are my producer, the people in the band, and everyone else directly around me. I also never start writing with a topic in mind. I just start writing to see what comes out of me, and maybe about halfway through the song I’ll see what I’m dealing with and try to hone in on it a little bit more. But when I write, I write almost automatically and abstractly. I just sit down and blurt it out, and afterward I’ll try to figure out what’s going on in my subconsciousness that I need to dive into. To do that you only really have two options. You can either pull it out and lay it out for everybody to look at, or you can hide from it and say that’s too much, and not go there. But pretty much everything I write about is coming directly from my subconscious.

Have you ever written something so wild that your band mates or producer don’t want to use it for a song?

Nah, I don’t think they’d care. I don’t think they even read my lyrics to be honest. They weren’t there when I was tracking vocals, they had gone home already. However, they have very high respect for my process, and I don’t think they’d ever question what I put out there. We are more of an artistic band than a lot of other bands, so it’s not necessary for us to spell things out for other people. If we were writing a pop song, and the lyrics were really abstract, we’d reach a point where we’d have to make our message more obvious because we’re trying to reach a wider audience, but like I said before we are doing this very selfishly, so I don’t really care if other people know what I’m talking about or not.

Last question for the day and I’ll get out of your hair: who, or what, would you say are some of your outside influences?

Like Misha, I really love electronic music too. That’s probably the music that I listen to the most right now. I like electronic a lot. I’ve been writing music on the side with this electronic guy, who is in Nine Inch Nails now, and he’s been feeding me all of this really out there electronic stuff. That’s kind of been my last two years of listening, all this bizarre out there ambient electronic stuff. When I was young the stuff that planted the seed for me was death metal and thrash and punk and hardcore and that kind of thing. I grew up in the city so I listened to a lot of Hip Hop and R&B as well, which I think has colored my note choices and overall sound. Certain inflections in my voice probably wouldn’t have been the same if I hadn’t grown up listening to a lot of “urban music”, for lack of a better term. Now though, I just like music that moves me. I don’t really care what genre it’s in. If there’s an Oasis song on that I like, I’m not bummed. I’m not like, “Oh man I can’t like Oasis!” There’s different stuff for different times of day or different vibes in your life. The music you want to party to isn’t necessarily the music you want to drive somewhere in a hurry to.

I remember reading somewhere that when you first joined Dillinger, you were a fan of their music. How was being in a band that you grew up listening to?

It was definitely weird. Well, it’s not weird now because I’ve been in the band for twelve years, and I pretty much separate my life by Dillinger and pre-Dillinger. Pre-Dillinger to me is like childhood, because I was only twenty-one when I joined, so before that I was a baby. I had only known about the band for maybe a year and a half before I joined, and we moved so fast between the time I joined the band to our recording of Miss Machine that I didn’t really get a chance to stop and think about it until like four or five years flew by. But now, looking back, I don’t know what else I would be doing. This band and the music that we’re playing and the creative relationship that Ben and I have…not that I believe that things happen for a reason, but I could not have found a better vehicle for my skill set as a writer and performer than this band. I wouldn’t be writing aggressive music or playing in any other capacity. I believe that people manifest their destiny, somewhat, so I think that Dillinger and I are on a great journey and that we were supposed to meet.

That’s all that I have for you! Do you have anything you would like to add?

I just want to say thanks to all the people that give a shit about us, whether you’re new or old. I know that we’re not the easiest band to like, but if anyone is into it at all, I know that you put some work in to get here, so we really truly appreciate it.

 

You can catch Greg and his band The Dillinger Escape Plan on their headlining tour with The Faceless and Royal Thunder before they play Orion Fest on June 9th. 

Intronaut-Habitual-Levitations-800x800

Intronaut Vocalist Sacha Dunable Discusses New Album, New Tour, New…Dolphin T-Shirts?

As one of the quickest risers in metal right now, Intronaut has been maintaining a very healthy fan base and a very solid discography. Recently, they added to that collection with Habiutal Levitations (Instilling Words with Tones), and apparently it was good enough to get a headlining tour with master instrumetallers Scale the Summit (which, by the way, comes to San Francisco on July 5th). Yours truly recently got to talk with the lead vocalist from the stoner metal outfit and chat about their newest album, their tour with Scale the Summit, and their latest additions to their shirt catalog.

What were you looking to accomplish with the new record?

Well, I don’t know if there was any one “goal” that we had in mind to accomplish necessarily, but I guess the thing that you’re always going for is to make a better record than the last one and to let ourselves evolve and progress into something new and fresh each time rather than putting out the same kind of record over and over again.

Habitual Levitations doesn’t feature the “growly vocals” that were present in your past records. What made you decide to do this kind of transformation?

Like I said, it’s just evolving as a musician and a person, really. Especially with the new record, and partially with the last, writing music where you’re just growling into a microphone after spending all of your time writing well thought out instrumental parts just seemed like it didn’t quite fit anymore.  The music isn’t really coming from an angsty place at this point, if that makes sense? It’s hard to explain to somebody that might not be in a band, but if you’re on stage screaming into a microphone, it just doesn’t feel as natural. Expressing that kind of angry, angsty side wasn’t what I was after, it just doesn’t feel natural anymore. Not to say that it will never happen again in our music, but while we were writing that record, that’s where we were all coming from.

How do you feel towards the reception you’ve received towards your latest album?

It seems fine, about the same as always really. Most people are into it, and there’s always some people who aren’t into it, which is to be expected if you’re changing things up from record to record. This time however there’s been more passionate hatred, and I take that as a good sign *laughs*. It shows that people care enough to say something negative about it. Everything else has been really good I think. I haven’t really noticed anything out of the ordinary as far as that goes.

You’ve always kind of been the “poster boys” for stoner metal. How do you feel about that label? Do you embrace it or try to shrug it off?

IntronautDolphin

I don’t really care. I mean, I would be lying if I said a lot of our music wasn’t written while under the influence, but personally I’m not what you would call a “stoner.” I think we’ve just played into that because we think it’s kind of funny, you know? It enables us to do ridiculous things, like a dolphin in a spacesuit smoking pot *laughs*. Also, when you’re on the road, you end up smoking pot with random fans. It’s just a good way to interact with people. So I don’t know if one would say we’re the “poster boys” for stoner metal, but we’ll play into it. It’s funny.

Is that why you guys made those shirts? I mean, I find them hilarious, but I really have to ask: whats with the dolphin t-shirts? 

*laughs* I don’t remember exactly where it started, but basically whenever we’re writing records, we’ll name our recordings in the hard drive with a joke title, and a few records ago one of those joke titles was “Barbecued Dolphin.” So, that became our funny little inside joke, and finally I just decided to ask this guy to make a barbecued dolphin t-shirt. He ended up flipping it around and turned it into a bunch of dolphins barbecuing, which is still to this day my favorite Intronaut shirt ever. We just loved it so much we started incorporating dolphin stuff into other things. This one time, we were playing at Budapest, Hungary, and this guy brought us this beautiful carved dolphin out of soapstone. And on this last tour, someone brought a dolphin glass pipe *laughs*. I don’t know, I guess it’s kind of become our thing.

Speaking of excitement, how pumped are you guys for the upcoming Scale the Summit tour?

It’s gonna be awesome man. We’re really excited to get out and do a real proper headliner, and we have Scale the Summit coming along too. It’s gonna be sweet. We’ve never actually played with them, I don’t think, but we’ve known them for a really long time. They actually used to live here in L.A., so we would always go to each others shows and whatnot. So we’re excited to be out with them. And then Mouth of the Architect, which is a band we’ve played with a couple times, and Joe, our bass player, actually filled in with them a few times over the years. So yeah, it’s gonna be a killer tour, for sure.

Intronaut_Milk-Leg_cover

What are your plans for the rest of the year, and what do you hope to accomplish as a band?

We’re working on getting more tours lined up. So we’re going to be touring more this year, and into next year, I’m sure. We’re already starting to think about the next record, but of course that’s going to take a while to get put together. As far as our goals, I don’t know man, we just want to keep doing this band. It’s just what we love doing. We’ve gotten to a point where it’s pretty much sustainable and we can hopefully just keep making records. Who knows what the future holds as far as the music industry goes, but I think we’re in a pretty good place. We have a nice small fan base that are devoted enough to help us do this. Hopefully for as long as we want to do it.

Intronaut are headlining a tour with Scale the Summit and Mouth of the Architect/Castle, starting in June. If you’re interested (which you should be) you can find more information here

ghostbc

Loud Rock Charts: 4/16

This week in new loud rock features the newest album from the band from hell Ghost B.C. with Infestissumam. We’ve also got the latest, and some might say greatest, from Whitechapel in The Somatic Defilement.

Other interesting releases include Suicidal Tendencies most recent album, and black metal outfit Woe who have been making waves in their respective genre’s scene.

 

1 GHOST B.C. Infestissumam Loma Vista
2 WHITECHAPEL The Somatic Defilement Candlelight
3 SUICIDAL TENDENCIES 13 Suicidal
4 WOE Withdrawal Candlelight
5 VISIONS OF ATLANTIS Ethera Napalm

 

 

1 KVELERTAK Meir Roadrunner
2 WITHIN THE RUINS Elite eOne
3 PYRITHION The Burden Of Sorrow Metal Blade
4 BYZANTINE Byzantine Self-Released
5 DARKTHRONE The Underground Resistance Peaceville
6 FLOTSAM AND JETSAM Ugly Noise Metal Blade
7 DARK SERMON In Tongues eOne
8 BEYOND THE SHORE Ghostwatcher Metal Blade
9 CLUTCH Earth Rocker Weathermaker
10 AMARANTHE The Nexus Spinefarm

clutchearthrockercover

Loud Rock Charts: 3/19

One of the better weeks in terms of Loud Rock Adds, this time we see Clutch drop what could be their greatest album to date, Finnish monster costumers Lordi release a “beastly” (teehee) record, and the highly anticipated Kvelertak album.

Also, I still have no idea how to pronounce that band name.  Kelvin Tack? Kevlar attack?

clutchearthrockercover

1 CLUTCH Earth Rocker Weathermaker
2 LORDI To Beast Or Not To Beast The End
3 KVELERTAK Meir Roadrunner
4 SIX FEET UNDER Unborn Metal Blade
5 CROSSFAITH Zion [EP] The End

 

 

Suffocation-Pinnacle-of-Bedlam-Small1 SUFFOCATION Pinnacle Of Bedlam Nuclear Blast
2 SOILWORK The Living Infinite Nuclear Blast
3 BLACK DRAWING CHALKS No Dust Stuck On You Self-Released
4 SHAI HULUD Reach Beyond The Sun Metal Blade
5 NEAERA Ours Is The Storm Metal Blade
6 WITHIN THE RUINS Elite eOne
7 KROKUS Dirty Dynamite The End
8 HATCHET Dawn Of The End The End
9 HATEBREED The Divinity Of Purpose Razor and Tie
10 PSYCHOTHERMIA Fall To The Rising Sun Self-Released

Alec-Icon-Radio1

Brootalisk’s Top 25 Loud Rock Albums of 2012

How does one attempt to define a year that has experienced a continually expanding range of sensations through the means of musical endeavors? Is it even possible to describe the feelings that 2012 has displayed, whether they be sadness, contentment, pain, or exuberance? The answer is no. It is practically impossible to express the emotions that one has been subjected to because no one but one’s ownself can truly know what it felt like when one soared to new heights and reached the crescendo of a particular song, or traveled through the murky depths of a record to reach the climax and leave utterly exhausted yet entirely fulfilled. However, with all that said, it is still a worthy undertaking to recommend, and by doing so acclaim, works of art that have been known to emit a certain uniqueness about themselves, and will relinquish the audience with a sense of admiration. The following 25 albums are, in this humble writer’s opinion, some of the greatest artworks in the musical scene that our generation has been lucky enough to witness and experience first hand.

 

#25: Dethklok – Dethalbum III

Dethklok has always been about satirizing the metal genre, and while Dethalbum III still accomplishes the feat, it’s also a great example of the kind of talent Brendon Small possesses. From the song writing to the instrumentation, Dethalbum III shows just why Dethklok is the most brutal force in the universe.

 

#24: Alcest - Les Voyages De L’Âme

While more post-rock/shoegazey than black metal, Les Voyages De L’Âme is nonetheless a powerful album, and while it doesn’t quite reach the heights that made Écailles De Lune a force to be reckoned with, it is still a great example of frontman Neige’s sheer talent and the near endless possibilities when combining two seemingly different genres into one massive soundscape.

 

#23: Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence

If you come into The Parallax II: Future Sequence knowing what to expect, you will leave sorely confused and perhaps a bit bewildered. Don’t overhype the album (like one Loud Rock Director might have done), and instead let the music naturally flow into you. You’ll enjoy the record much more that way.

 

#22: Daylight Dies – A Frail Becoming

Sometimes it takes a band longer than others to fully mature and ripen into a full fledged dynamic force of nature, but in Daylight Dies’ case, it is well worth the wait. A Frail Becoming is Daylight Dies best record yet, and showcases their confident but not overly eager sound and style.

 

#21: Monuments – Gnosis

Gnosis isn’t the most well put together album, nor is it the most heartfelt, but what it lacks in emotion it more than makes up for in sheer technicality and entertainment. It’s not something you listen to when you want to go on an aural escapade through your mind, but rather a guilty pleasure that’s easy to get into but complex enough to keep you coming back for more.

 

 

 

Best Loud Rock EPs

#5: Circle of Contempt - Entwine the Threads

 

 

#4: Agalloch – Faustian Echoes

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#3: Revocation - Teratogenesis

 

 

 

#2: Apostate - Λ ♦ Λ ♦ Ø (Against All Odds)

 

 

 

#1: Chimp Spanner - All Roads Lead Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#20: Skyharbor - Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos

After leaving Tesseract, Daniel Tompkins has been creating his own musical path, with experiments such as In Colour and Absent Hearts, but by far his most successful work has been in Skyharbor and their debut Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos. However, while Dan’s vocals are some of the best in the genre, it’s Keshav Dhar’s songwriting, and the awesome guest appearances, that truly make this album a must listen.

 

#19: The Sword – Apocryphon

Arguably the most progressive record to come out of The Sword, Apocryphon sees the Hard Rock outfit stay true to their unique brand and style, yet move in the logical next step after the sci-fi goodness that was their 2010 release, Warp Riders. 

 

 

#18: Sylosis – Monolith

Thrash has had some trouble staying relevant in the metal realm in recent years, but Sylosis has made their contribution and imprint on the genre with Monolith, a “monolithic” record that should have no trouble reaching out to fans who have already left the genre.

 

 

 #17: Wintersun – Time I

When a musician takes 8 years to forge a highly anticipated album, it will almost always disappoint fans, no matter the quality of the record, and Time I is no exception. However, don’t allow the voracious and unappeasable fans scare you away from the record. Though not quite on par with Wintersun’s debut, it is still just as epic and grandiose.

 

#16: Deftones – Koi No Yokan

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of a Deftones release and to instantly think that every single record is a masterpiece. While the reality is much more dull, this record certainly is not, being full of romantic charge and fleeting commotion. Koi No Yokan is no masterpiece, but it is still an exception work of art that is just as Deftones as any of their other releases.

 

#15: Cloudkicker - Fade

Ben Sharp, mastermind behind Cloudkicker, is something of a Do-It-Yourself musician. All his music, free on his bandcamp, is entirely made by himself and self released. Don’t let that fool you though; Fade is one of the most moving albums on this list. It’s greatness is subtle, but once found you will be able to explore the plethora of impressive musical talent at work here.

 

#14: Exotic Animal Petting Zoo - Tree of Tongues

Characteristically weird and bizarre, Tree of Tongues is, in a way, akin to watching something frightening but remarkably interesting in such a way that you simply can’t look away. There’s nothing about this album that should scare you off though; it’s crazy in all the right ways, yet accessible enough to keep you coming back for seconds and thirds.

 

#13: Meshuggah – Koloss

With everyone trying to copy the sound that has made Meshuggah a household name, Koloss shows the little kids how it’s done. The album is Meshuggah as Meshuggah does. Heavy, distorted riffs, and insanely brutal breakdowns, there is almost nothing not to immediately love about this album.

 

#12: Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

Without the rind mindset, Converge can be incredibly hard to incorporate into your musical tastes. Their goal is simple: pummel you into the ground until you can stand upright no more. All We Love We Leave Behind may not change your opinion on the band, but there’s a definite subtlety about it that implies something a bit more harmonious but just as destructive, a refreshing take on the trademark sound Converge has utilized throughout the years.

 

#11: The Contortionist - Intrinsic

Some may call it pretentious, others may call it boring, but to many more, Intrinsic is an incredibly engaging and worthwhile listen that garners praise where it received criticism. If one gives it a chance, instead of writing it off as a bombastic piece of work, it can reveal an entirely fascinating auditory experience, straight from the heart of one of the premier progressive metal acts today.

 

 

 

Best Non-Loud Rock Albums

#5: Trioscapes - Separate Realities

#4: Rush - Clockwork Angels

#3: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

#2: Swans – The Seer

 

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#1: Hammock – Departure Songs

 

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#10: High On Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis

High On Fire has always been a good band, but they never dropped an album that could make them a truly great band. That is, until they released De Vermis MysteriisChanneling the sludginess Electric Wizard and the menace of Converge, De Vermis Mysteriis is a fantastic combination of different methods and styles while still being wholly High On Fire.
#9: Neurosis – Honor Found in Decay

An amalgamation of everything Neurosis has accomplished, Honor Found in Decay shows why Neurosis is considered one of the finest post metal acts in history. Although there are some very slight missteps present in the record, they don’t hinder in the slightest what the album represents: a celebration of all that has come to past, and a shimmer of hope for what the future holds. 

 

#8: Hypno5e - Acid Mist Tomorrow

Progressive and completely avant-garde, Acid Mist Tomorrow makes use of numerous tricks, some old some new, to create an atmospheric yet ferocious sophomoric effort. Although there are very unnecessary moments, such as the numerous employments of voice overs, but these are overshadowed by the air of breathtaking brutality that exudes from each and every song.

 

#7: Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Pinata

It’s hard to be avant-garde while still being aaccessible, even more important, coherent. Yet, Diablo Swing Orchestra somehow manage to release one of the weirdest yet most intelligible albums 2012 saw. Full of skillful violin work and operatic singing, Pandora’s Pinata is arguably the zaniest-yet-strongest progressive metal work to come out this year.

 

#6: Amenra – Mass V

The second most soul crushing album on this list (see: #1), Mass V isn’t just an escapade into doom gloom, it’s created for the sole purpose of crushing your spirits with any means Amenra sees fit, and don’t doubt them for a second, no matter how optimistic your outlook on life is. If you’re not at the very least melancholy after listening to the album, you need to plug your speakers in and actually listen.

 

#5: Soul Cycle – Soul Cycle II

It can be hard comparing an instrumental record to albums with vocals of any kind. They’re an easy way to add depth to a song. However, Soul Cycle doesn’t take the easy way out, and with Soul Cycle II, vocals would have only taken away from the excrutiatingly precise instrumentation present on the album. This is arguably the finest instrumental album since Animals as Leader’s self titled debut.

#4: Gojira - L’Enfant Sauvage

What can one say about L’Enfant Sauvage that has yet to be said? It’s not just Gojira’s finest work yet; it’s one of the single greatest albums to come out of 2012, and will most likely be considered a classic 5 years from now. When some reflect on what made 2012 the best year for metal in recent history, this is what many will point to with eager faces and banging heads.

 

#3: Enslaved –  RIITIIR

Equal parts alluring and downright breathtaking, RIITIIR doesn’t skimp any of the radiant beauty that has made them the reigning champion of black metal for two straight releases. Also, it’s most definitely worth mentioning that this record has the most powerful ending of 2012, and it is entirely indicative of the rest of the monumental album that is RIITIIR.

 

#2: Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I

Seeing the crown up for grabs in the progressive metal dominion, Ne Obliviscaris didn’t waste any time in forging one of the most original and creative pieces of art of not just the year, but the entire decade. Portal of I takes the listener on a climactic journey in which one will experience some of the highest highs and lowest lows ever conceived. This isn’t just an album, it is the birth of a new band, one that is sure to release instant classics and garner unbelievable praise. Consider yourself lucky to experience a consummate band in their very beginnings.

#1: Downfall of Gaia – Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes

It’s hard to describe something that has made you feel so many emotions simultaneously without ever being overbearing. Never before has an album had this kind of affect, destroying your very inner soul during the record’s second song, but slowly building you back into something so much greater and more understanding of the world around you. It’s grotesque, beautiful, disconcerting, and exhilarating all at the same time. But, don’t let the Downfall of Gaia’s obscurity scare you from listening to this masterpiece. Let Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes’ musical content scare you away. Believe me, though, when I say this: you will, most willingly, come back for more perfect mind-bending cruelty and thoroughly enjoy every second of it.

 

 

 

 

parallaxIIfuturesequence

Between the Buried and Me’s Newest Album Teases With Some Sexy Foreplay But Will Never Call Back

When Between the Buried and Me came to San Francisco for Summer Slaughter, I had the great fortune to sit down with Dan Briggs and Dustie Waring. Of course, one of the main things we discussed in detail was their newest addition to their diverse discography, The Parallax II: Future Sequence. We talked extensively about the new record, but one thing Dustie told me really stuck out to me; he seemed to genuinely think that it was their best musical venture they had ever created. Unfortunately, I very highly disagree with that statement.

Tracklist
1. Goodbye To Everything
2. Astral Body
3. Lay Your Ghosts To Rest
4. Autumn
5. Extremophile Elite
6. Parallax
7. The Black Box
8. Telos
9. Bloom
10. Melting City
11. Silent Fight Parliament
12. Goodbye To Everything (Reprise)

 

Both musically and conceptually, TPII begins right where The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues left off. The only problem is that it’s start is a little too awkward and jerky. After the intro, “Goodbye to Everything”, we get a little build up that leads into “Astral Body”, but it never really feels or conveys like we’re going onto this awesome musical journey into space where we’ll proceed to have our brains made sweet sweet love to. Ultimately, “Astral Body” seems very out of place as the beginning track. Fortunately, it leads very smoothly right into the next track, “Lay Your Ghosts to Rest”, which is in itself a very solid song. It almost feels as if this should have been the beginning track. This is further perpetuated by the lyrics present towards the last minute or so of the track: “The end, starts now.” In fact, a good chunk of the album sounds like it shouldn’t be there at all. “Autumn” is just a filler track before the meaty “Extremophile Elite”, and “Parallax” doesn’t fundamentally serve a purpose besides some basic storytelling.

Of course, there are more than enough redeeming factors to make this a worthwhile listen. They’ve seemed to realize that their musical endeavors can get bogged down by their penchant for unnecessary wankery, which they have undertaken to fix this time around, with moderate success. While addressing those complaints, they haven’t forgotten what’s made them one of the biggest progressive metal acts around. There is still a ton of weirdness and craziness present in the album, such as the very “sitary” reference to last year’s EP, and the utterly soul crushing breakdown in “Telos”. “Bloom” is also an incredibly fun listen, if a little out of place.

While the first 45 minutes are a sensory overload (for better or worse), the last 30 minutes of the record display some mind boggling and questionable songwriting decisions. There is the occasional segment of exorbitant showoffiness mixed with some seemingly random riffage, but the big difference between TPII‘s examples of etravagance and their previous efforts is the lack of an ultimate climax (stop your snickering). Once I had finally traversed through the drudgery of their instrument work and reached the end of my journey throughout Colors and The Great Misdirect, I felt like I could put the record away, that there was a satisfying conclusion to the melodious struggle that I had just experienced. This was what defined my time with BTBAM: the breathtaking and exciting climaxes that I felt throughout each and every one of their albums. However, with TPII, I experienced no such climactic feeling. I still had a sense of moving forward even though I had conclusively reached the end of the groundwork that BTBAM had orchestrated for me. It all adds up to a very anticlimactic finish from what is an otherwise pleasant aural eargasm.

Overall, TPII is a solid outing from BTBAM, though one can’t help but get the feeling that more could have been accomplished here. BTBAM tried to do too much and not enough at the same time, and while their newest release indicates that they are indeed moving forward, it also suggests that they’ve lost a step or two in their songwriting prowess along the way. Still, it’s hard not to be hopeful for the future. If BTBAM can execute more or less what they’ve done in TPII without the occasional clumsiness and stumble, it’ll be incredibly difficult for any band to top what they can deliver.

FINAL SUPER ULTIMATE RATING:

(3.5 Brutalisks out of 5)