Features

The Gathering: The Next Chapter

When Anneke van Giersbergen announced her departure from The Gathering it was a shock – for many fans but for her bandmates as well. But shock doesn’t have to lead to death or paralysis, and in a sense The Gathering had been down this road before. Reinvention is a familiar enterprise for the Dutch alt rockers, who started out as a doomy metal band with male vocals in the early nineties. Van Giersbergen’s entry on lead vocals was merely one shift, the eventual transition from aggression to shoegazing another. Though Anneke was the voice and forward face of The Gathering for well over a decade, her decision to leave meant another change, not the end.

Killswitch Engage: Turning Liquid Sugar Into Gold

Whether it’s because they have definite hardcore roots, forming as they did from the ashes of Overcast, Aftershock and, later, Blood Has Been Shed, or because they have choruses that sound more like globules of liquid sugar instead of caustic battery acid, Massachusetts’ Killswitch Engage has always had troubles being accepted by metalheads across the board. Arguments range from “they’re metalcore/screamo/not metal therefore they suck” to “they may be metal, but they suck” and other such subjectivity disguised as scene police fact. That they’ve gone ahead and managed two certified gold records in the U.S. means that the underground has yet another reason to chastise them beyond the speciousness of arguments surrounding what genre they call home.

Kevin Stewart-Panko discusses KSE’s second self-titled album and their rise to modest fame with band guitarist Joel Stroetzel.

Interview with Phil Freeman, Author of Sound Levels: Profiles In American Music, 2002-2009

“Metal is hard,” says Freeman. “It’s difficult, rigorous music but it’s not treated as such. These are guys who are on the level as symphony players on their respective instruments. These are guys who went into their bedrooms at age 10 and didn’t come out until age 20, but because they have long hair and they sing about decapitating virgins or whatever, it’s not treated with the respect the effort put into it would seem to demand.”

Laina Dawes speaks to music writer and recent Metal Edge editor Phil Freeman about his newly released book.

Birushanah: Taking Japanese Culture To New Extremes

One band that has embraced traditional Japanese culture and used it to make something that is both new and exciting is the Osaka based quartet Birushanah. A band that has ties to the always-amazing Corrupted (bassist Sougyo spent some time in that band), Birushanah melds traditional Japanese percussion (done on metal instrumentation) with sludge metal that is similar to early Swans, Neurosis and (fellow Japanese) Zeni Geva

Slayer: Preparing for a World Painted Blood

“I can imagine myself at 75 looking like Charlie Watts playing speed metal,” says Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. “I’m OK with that. I don’t know about the other guys. I’ll keep playing, though, and as long as Slayer needs me, I’ll be here. Whatever they wanna do.”

Keith Carman speaks to Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo about their new upcoming album, World Painted Blood, and what the future holds for the legendary Southern California metal band.

Gojira: Death Metal From the Soul

Back in the day, the pounding, clanging and grinding sounds of Birmingham, England’s ubiquitous industrial work provided a great wealth of inspiration for the thunderous sounds of metal’s forefathers in Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. Similarly, having grown up in the southwest of France in Bayonne, the members of Gojira are very familiar with the undeniable power of the Atlantic Ocean’s waves, and they’ve sought to emulate that power in a musical format. And with success, their dynamic and grooving, Morbid Angel-esque pummeling rises like a climbing wave before climatically crashing down.

Having just announced new fall tour dates supporting Metallica in the USA, Jay Gorania speaks to Joe Duplantier about life,death and metal.

Judas Priest: Metal Gods Revisit British Steel

“It’s Judas Priest, man. Judas-effing-Priest!” And really, that’s just about all that needs to be said. That name, it’s a ritual, a mating call, a summons to arms, a bonding focal point. When you hear a bunch of yahoos yelling out “Slaaaaayeeeeerrrrrr!” you know the chances are very good that a Slayer show has just let out nearby. But when you hear “Judas-effing-Priest, man!” regardless of the setting, there’s no doubt that metal is about.

Hellbound speaks to bassist Ian Hill about this summer’s British Steel anniversary tour, stopping in Toronto this Thursday.

Cripple Bastards: Two Decades of Provocative Grind

Happy birthday, Cripple Bastards! My how you’ve grown. No, really. To the untrained ear, the 20-year-long list of releases that Asti, Italy’s long-standing provocative grindcore institution have comprising their discography may sound like short burst of noise after short burst of noise – and we’d be lying if we said everything that has followed since the day one Guilio “The Bastard” Baldizzone organized a rehearsal on the top floor of an abandoned factory with his fellow extreme music obsessed chum, Alberto The Crippler, has been top-of-the-line, especially some of those early cassette only releases – but, being able to maintain a stable line-up over the last few years has definitely helped the band progress towards pummelling grindcore efficiency.