About Low Gain

I'm just a teenager, living in Southern Illinois, that loves music in general. I love attending festivals as it feels like everyone comes together as a giant family. I also look forward to hearing new music and passing it onto the masses. In my free time I play guitar, basketball, and attend high school.

Chicago Open Air Spotlight: NORMA JEAN

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*Every Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

This week’s artist is Norma Jean.

On Sunday, July 16th, pioneer metalcore titans Norma Jean join a stacked lineup at Chicago Open Air at Toyota Park. Norma Jean is known for their melodic, heavy sound that is perfect for driving a crowd into a frenzy. The band formed all the way back in 1997 in Georgia and there are no original members left. Former vocalist Josh Scogin left the band in 2002 right after the first full length album ‘Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child’ featuring tracks like “Memphis Will Be Laid to Waste” and “Creating Something Out of Nothing, Only to Destroy It.” Scogin went on to form acts like The Chariot and ’68. Current vocalist Cory Brandan Putman joined in 2004 and has been in the band for the longest period. Continue reading

Chicago Open Air Spotlight: CANE HILL

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Photo by Porter McKnight

*Every Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

This week’s artist is Cane Hill.

On Saturday, July 15th, alternative metal band Cane Hill will be bringing their contagiously heavy sound to Chicago Open Air in Toyota Park. It all began back in New Orleans in 2011. Cane Hill’s name is actually taken from the name of a deserted mental asylum in the UK. The band really broke through from their very start with their refreshing take on a mix of nu metal and hardcore. Despite only having one album out, Cane Hill has already showed a tremendous amount of diversity in their sound. They cover all aspects of the two genres being very reminiscent of acts like Slipknot, Korn, and Marilyn Manson. They released their first single in 2014 “Sunday School” (check it out below) and were signed to Rise Records in the same day. Continue reading

Review: SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT – ‘One With The Universe’ [Album Stream]

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In less than two weeks, Samsara Blue Experiment‘s fourth full length album officially releases. The trio formed in Germany in 2007 and is well praised in the stoner/doom/psychedelic rock community. ‘One With The Universe’ will be released via Electric Magic Records, the band’s second album on the label. The artwork you see above was created by French artist Michel Bassot. Samsara Blues Experiment lives up to their name by experimenting a little bit more with synthesizers than they have on past records. They still manage to maintain the focus of putting forth heavy material while also adding in new elements to open more doors for the band. Although it doesn’t drop physically until May 12th, you can already stream the album online. The band worked with largely popular YouTube channel Stoned Meadow of Doom and you can actually listen to it below right now. If you like what you hear be sure to support the artists by pre-ordering the record here. Continue reading

Chicago Open Air Spotlight: FAILURE ANTHEM

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*Every Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

This week’s artist is Failure Anthem.

On Friday, July 14th, Failure Anthem will be right up with Hell or Highwater (last week’s spotlight artist) to be one of the first bands to take the Chicago Open Air stage in 2017. This will be their second Danny Wimmer Presents festival after playing Carolina Rebellion last year in 2016. The band has made swift progress after only forming in 2013 when guitarist Kile Odell wanted to form his own project after working with several other artists including Motionless in White. From Greensboro, North Carolina, Failure Anthem set out to deliver catchy hard rock songs with a positive message in their music. The band signed with Razor & Tie in 2015 and released their debut record in early 2016.

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Chicago Open Air Spotlight: HELL OR HIGHWATER [New Song Stream]

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*Every Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

This week’s artist is Hell Or Highwater.

Friday, July 14th, Hell Or Highwater will be one of the first bands to hit the Chicago Open Air stage in 2017. The band was formed originally as a solo project by Atreyu vocalist/drummer Brandon Saller in 2011 when Atreyu went on a brief hiatus. This material is definitely more upbeat and rock’n’roll while Atreyu was on the darker, metalcore side for most of their career. Hell Or Highwater will be at the festival promoting upcoming new material from their album ‘Vista’ which comes out on May 19th. You can check out the artwork for that and a few tracks below. Continue reading

Review: OF THE SUN – ‘Before A Human Path’ [Album Stream]

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Texas shredders Of The Sun have finally released their long awaited sophomore album ‘Before A Human Path’.  Their first release ‘A.M. Radio’ came out back in 2009 so long time fans have been left waiting for many years for this record. ‘Before A Human Path’ was self released by the band last Friday on April 14th. Describing themselves as “Southern Progressive Metal”, Of The Sun brings a creative new sound by being very experimental in the progressive and thrash genres while maintaining an extremely heavy groove in each track. The band has played with the likes of Intronaut, Devin Townsend, and Gorguts so you know they are serious. This 5 track album contains no filler and gets straight to the point of grabbing your attention. You can buy the record on Bandcamp or stream it below. See what the band had to say about the record below. Step into the world of Of The Sun now.

With Before a Human Path, we pulled from personal extremes to convey a more colorful and varied storyline within the span of each song. Ultimately shunning conventional songwriting formula, we really dug in to unearth something we felt isn’t currently being done. We’re beyond excited to share it with you!.”

With only 5 tracks on ‘Before A Human Path’, the trio wastes no time diving into superb craftsmanship and songwriting with “The Tightrope Mile”. Several time changes are applied and trade offs between clean vocals and screams are transitioned flawlessly. The song will at times will be peaceful as if you are sitting on a beach before once again shooting you back into the slamming, tortured sounding verses in purgatory. “Nebulamorphous” begins with a beautifully composed shredding guitar intro from Patrick Duvall that could paint a song on its own. Of The Sun continues their large experimentation on the record here with several guitar effects and fervent drumming from Johnny Reed. David Duvall shows out with an equally impressive bass solo and keeps it flowing with the rest of the song. The groove that they bring while still being heavy as all can be is incredible and hard to find in metal. “Cantos” presents yet another side of the band with more clean vocals and creepy guitar melodies to give the listener another perspective of the band and how proficient they are at creating original material. The fourth track “A Soliloquy” is a rather angst-filled song with complicated rhythms. The song has several layers, constantly evolving and becoming heavier as it continues. I’m not usually a fan of breakdowns but Of The Sun makes it work here with the guitar and bass battling each other to produce an enormous sound. ‘Before A Human Path’ draws to a thunderous close with “The Limbless God”. This song holds massive weight on the record with the fierce riffage and impassioned screams from Duvall. Reed is unrelenting on the bass drum while David Duvall continues to grind out robust bass lines as we exit the world of Of The Sun. In just 5 tracks, this trio has proved they are here to stay in the metal universe and will wreck havoc at their shows. Be sure to check out the album below and to follow Of The Sun on Facebook.

Of the Sun is:
Patrick Duvall – Lead Vocals/Guitar
David Duvall – Bass/Vocals
Johnny Reed – Drums

‘Before A Human Path’ Track List
01. The Tightrope Mile
02. Nebulamorphous
03. Cantos
04. A Soliloquy
05. The Limbless God

SUFFOCATION Set To Release New Album In June [New Track Streaming]

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Artwork by Colin Marks

Brutal death metal pioneers Suffocation have announced they will be releasing their 10th studio album on June 9th. ‘…Of The Dark Light’ will be released via Nuclear Blast Records and it is the band’s first full length record since ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ in 2013.  You can check out a 360 video of the new single “Your Last Breaths” below. You can also view the track list and see what founding guitarist Terrance Hobbs has to say about the record. Suffocation begins a North American tour next month with Morbid Angel, Revocation, and Withered. Pre-order ‘…Of The Dark Light’ here. Continue reading

Review: WOODHAWK – ‘Beyond The Sun’

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Artwork by Mark Kowalchuk

Just this Friday, Calgary, Alberta band Woodhawk released ‘Beyond the Sun’ independently. They dropped their first EP in 2014 and are now here with their first album. With slamming, groovy riffs, the band’s first full length record brings you back to the early 70s rock n roll sound with several different lyrical themes to keep it interesting. The trio recorded this album at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver BC. It was mixed by Jesse Gander, mastered by Brad Boatright, and produced by Gander and the band. The album artwork was created by Mark Kowalchuk. You can purchase ‘Beyond the Sun’ on Bandcamp or stream it below.

‘Beyond the Sun’ leads us in with a relaxed intro from the title track before taking off into a space-like dimension of riffs to prepare us for what is in store for the rest of the record. “The High Priest” (music video below) is a hard rock anthem filled with remarkable instrumentals and catchy choruses from Turner Midzain. Woodhawk continues to pack a huge punch in their sound with the thunderous “Living in the Sand”. This track features guest vocals from Kevin Keegan (Dead Quiet, ex-Mountain Dust, ex-Barn Burner). It’s a six minute epic with a full dose of 70s hard rock storming into your door with power and emotion overflooding your stereo.  “Magnetic North” is a slow tempo, bluesy with booming bass from Mike Badmington and is plentiful of riffs that will put the listener into a trance. The album picks its pace back up with “Lawless” shredding through with that classic rock sound with a psychedelic edge. “Quest For Clarity” has an marvelous bass intro before exploding into another musical adventure with splendid work behind the drum kit from Kevin Nelson. The more relaxed guitar solo near the end is a beautiful work of art and builds tension before roaring back into the chorus. “A New Hope” has a  neat guitar echo effect and obviously rotates around the theme of Star Wars. It doesn’t get much better than rock’n’roll about Star Wars! “Foresee the Future” is a slick two-minute instrumental with a desert-like tone to set the mood for the final song on the record. “Chrononaut” is definitely the most rifftastic song on the album with these huge sounds rushing to you at the speed of light. It takes a more mid-tempo turn towards the middle before closing out in dramatic fashion. Woodhawk has released a killer 9-track debut record not to be forgotten soon by fans of stoner rock. Make sure to follow Woodhawk on Facebook at the link below.

‘Beyond the Sun’ Tracklist
1. Beyond The Sun (3:57)
2. The High Priest (4:46)
3. Living In The Sand (6:03)
4. Magnetic North (4:13)
5. Lawless (3:06)
6. Quest For Clarity (4:14)
7. A New Hope (4:49)
8. Foresee The Future (2:12)
9. Chrononaut (5:19)

Woodhawk is:
Turner Midzain – Vocals/Guitar
Mike Badmington – Bass/Vocals
Kevin Nelson – Drums

 

Chicago Open Air Spotlight: DRAGONFORCE [New Song Streams]

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*Every Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

This week’s artist is DragonForce.

On Saturday, July 15th, these power/speed metal legends will be taking the Chicago Open Air stage for their first Danny Wimmer Presents festival. Like many from the States, I became familiar with DragonForce sitting at home as a kid playing their songs on Guitar Hero like “Through the Fire and the Flames” and “Fury of the Storm”. They’ve produced epic material consistently with symphonic elements while Herman Li is shredding at the speed of the light. There is also something in their sound that makes you think of old school video games tunes (some have even referred to them as “Nintendo Metal”). The band has went through several lineup changes since forming in 1999 but original guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman still remain a part of the group. DragonForce is releasing a new album titled ‘Reaching Into Infinity’ this year and details can be found about it here. You can stream two tracks off of it below right now! Continue reading

An Interview With Dan Briggs of BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME

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I just recently had the chance to interview bassist/keyboardist Dan Briggs of Between the Buried and Me, Orbs, Trioscapes, and Nova Collective. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time as BtBaM are one of my favorite bands in the progressive genre. Briggs gives us the scoop on what to expect to see on the upcoming ‘Coma Ecliptic Live’ DVD, what we might hear on the next album, playing ‘Colors’ again later on this year, his new project titled Nova Collective and more. The ‘Coma Ecliptic Live’ DVD will be released via Metal Blade Records and Good Fight Entertainment on April 28th. You can pre-order it here. Continue reading